ACT New Zealand

Last updated

ACT New Zealand
PresidentTim Jago
Leader David Seymour
Deputy LeaderBeth Houlbrooke
Founder Roger Douglas and Derek Quigley
Founded1994;25 years ago (1994)
Headquarters27 Gillies Avenue
Newmarket, Auckland
Student wing Young ACT
Ideology Classical liberalism [1] [2]
Right-libertarianism [3]
Political position Right-wing [3] [4]
International affiliationNone
ColoursYellow, blue and magenta
SloganAct for Freedom [5]
MPs in the House of Representatives
1 / 120
Website
act.org.nz

ACT New Zealand, usually known as ACT ( /ˈækt/ ), is a right-wing, classical-liberal political party in New Zealand. [3] [1] According to former party leader Rodney Hide, ACT stands for "individual freedom, personal responsibility, doing the best for our natural environment and for smaller, smarter government in its goals of a prosperous economy, a strong society, and a quality of life that is the envy of the world". [6]

Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom. Closely related to economic liberalism, it developed in the early 19th century, building on ideas from the previous century as a response to urbanisation and to the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States. Notable individuals whose ideas contributed to classical liberalism include John Locke, Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Robert Malthus and David Ricardo. It drew on the classical economic ideas espoused by Adam Smith in Book One of The Wealth of Nations and on a belief in natural law, utilitarianism and progress. The term classical liberalism has often been applied in retrospect to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from social liberalism.

Rodney Hide New Zealand politician

Rodney Philip Hide is a former New Zealand politician of the ACT Party. Hide was a Member of Parliament for ACT from 1996 until 2011, was ACT's leader between 2004 and 2011, and represented the Epsom from 2005 to 2011. In the Fifth National Government, Hide was Minister of Local Government, Associate Minister of Commerce and Minister of Regulatory Reform until 2011.

Contents

The name comes from the initials of the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers, founded in 1993 by Roger Douglas and Derek Quigley, from which the party grew in 1994. It was briefly led by former National Party leader and Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash for the 2011 general election.

Roger Douglas New Zealand politician

Sir Roger Owen Douglas is a retired New Zealand politician who served as a minister in two Labour governments. He is best known for his prominent role in the radical economic restructuring of the 1980s, when the Fourth Labour Government's economic policy became known as "Rogernomics".

Derek Quigley New Zealand politician

Derek Francis Quigley is a former New Zealand politician. He was a prominent member of the National Party during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and was known for his support of free market economics and trade liberalisation. Quigley left the National Party after clashing with its leadership, and later co-founded the ACT party.

New Zealand National Party Major New Zealand political party

The New Zealand National Party, shortened to National or the Nats, is a centre-right political party in New Zealand. It is one of two major parties that dominate contemporary New Zealand politics, alongside its traditional rival, the New Zealand Labour Party.

The party's current leader and only member of parliament is David Seymour. During the 2017 general election, ACT kept its sole seat in Epsom and gained 0.5% of the popular vote. [7]

David Seymour (New Zealand politician) Politician from New Zealand

David Breen Seymour is the Epsom electorate MP, and leader of ACT New Zealand. Seymour has previously worked in public policy in Canada. In November 2015, Seymour was named the Trans Tasman 2015 Politician Of The Year.

2017 New Zealand general election Election on 23 September 2017

The 2017 New Zealand general election took place on Saturday 23 September 2017 to determine the membership of the 52nd New Zealand Parliament. The previous parliament was elected on 20 September 2014 and was officially dissolved on 22 August 2017. Voters elected 120 members to the House of Representatives under New Zealand's mixed-member proportional (MMP) voting system, a proportional representation system in which 71 members were elected from single-member electorates and 49 members were elected from closed party lists. Around 3.57 million people were registered to vote in the election, with 2.63 million (79.8%) turning out. Advance voting proved popular, with 1.24 million votes cast before election day, more than the previous two elections combined.

Epsom (New Zealand electorate) Current New Zealand electorate

Epsom is a New Zealand parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the New Zealand House of Representatives. As of the 2017 general election, its member of parliament is David Seymour.

Principles

ACT bases its philosophy on individual freedom and on personal responsibility. [8] ACT sets out its values:

In philosophy, moral responsibility is the status of morally deserving praise, blame, reward, or punishment for an act or omission performed or neglected in accordance with one's moral obligations. Deciding what counts as "morally obligatory" is a principal concern of ethics.

Personal life course of an individuals life, especially when viewed as the sum of personal choices contributing to ones personal identity

Personal life is the course of an individual's life, especially when viewed as the sum of personal choices contributing to one's personal identity.

Policies

Former leader Don Brash promised to focus the party on controlling government debt, equality among all New Zealanders, and rethinking the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. [10] Under previous leader Rodney Hide, ACT New Zealand had primarily focused on two main policy areas: taxation and crime.

Government debt debt owed by a central government

Government debt contrasts to the annual government budget deficit, which is a flow variable that equals the difference between government receipts and spending in a single year. The debt is a stock variable, measured at a specific point in time, and it is the accumulation of all prior deficits.

New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme is a partial-coverage all-free allocation uncapped highly internationally linked emissions trading scheme. The NZ ETS was first legislated in the Climate Change Response Amendment Act 2008 in September 2008 under the Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand and then amended in November 2009 and in November 2012 by the Fifth National Government of New Zealand.

Crime unlawful act forbidden and punishable by criminal law

In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term "crime" does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition, though statutory definitions have been provided for certain purposes. The most popular view is that crime is a category created by law; in other words, something is a crime if declared as such by the relevant and applicable law. One proposed definition is that a crime or offence is an act harmful not only to some individual but also to a community, society or the state. Such acts are forbidden and punishable by law.

At the 2011 general election, ACT advocated lowering tax rates and also supported something approaching a flat tax, in which tax rates would not be graduated based on wealth or income, so every taxpayer would pay the same proportion of their income in tax. The flat tax rate that ACT proposed would be approximately 15% with no tax on the first $25,000 for those who opt out of Government accident, sickness and healthcare cover. [11] Aligned to the lower tax proposal, ACT also wants to reduce or remove some Government programmes which it sees as unnecessary and wasteful and to increase self-reliance by encouraging individuals to take responsibility to pay for services traditionally paid for by Government.

Other policies ACT canvassed include:

Members of ACT's caucus in parliament voted 5 to 4 in favour of the 2004 Civil Unions legislation which gave the option of legal recognition to (among others) same-sex couples. A majority also supported the legalisation of brothels by the Prostitution Reform Act 2003. [13]

The Act Party's current position on climate change is that there is no warming trend in New Zealand. [14] The ACT Party went into the 2008 general election with a policy that in part stated "New Zealand is not warming" and that their policy goal was to ensure "That no New Zealand government will ever impose needless and unjustified taxation or regulation on its citizens in a misguided attempt to reduce global warming or become a world leader in carbon neutrality". [14] In September 2008, ACT Party Leader Rodney Hide stated "that the entire climate change - global warming hypothesis is a hoax, that the data and the hypothesis do not hold together, that Al Gore is a phoney and a fraud on this issue, and that the emissions trading scheme is a worldwide scam and swindle." [15] In February 2016, ACT deleted this climate change policy from their website and ACT Party Leader David Seymour attacked the Green Party for doing "bugger all for the environment". [16]

The party has shifted to a more classical liberal stance under current leader David Seymour, whereas it embraced a mix of liberal and conservative populist policies under former leaders Richard Prebble and Rodney Hide. [17]

History

Formation

The name comes from the initials of the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers, founded in 1993 by Roger Douglas and Derek Quigley. From this, they formed ACT New Zealand in the following year as a political party. [18]

1996 election

In the 1996 election, ACT fielded 56 list candidates. [19] Richard Prebble won the Wellington Central electorate [19] and with 6.10% of the vote, the party was eligible for seven list MPs. [20]

1999 election

In the 1999 election, ACT obtained 7.04% of the party vote, making it eligible for nine list MPs. [21]

2002 election

In the 2002 election, ACT obtained 7.14% of the party vote, making it eligible for nine list MPs. [22]

2005 election

In the 2005 election, ACT obtained 1.51% of the party vote, and hence had 1 list MP and 1 electorate MP. [23]

2008 election

In the 2008 New Zealand general election, ACT fielded 61 list candidates, starting with Rodney Hide, Heather Roy, Sir Roger Douglas, John Boscawen, David Garrett and Hilary Calvert. The election marked an improvement in ACT's fortunes. Hide retained his Epsom seat and ACT's share of the party vote increased to 3.65% (up from the 1.5% gained in the 2005 election). The combination allowed the party five MPs in total. [24]

In addition, the National Party won the most seats overall, forming a minority government, the Fifth National Government of New Zealand, with the support of ACT as well as the Māori Party and United Future. John Key offered both Hide and Roy posts as Ministers outside Cabinet: Hide became Minister of Local Government, Minister for Regulatory Reform and Associate Minister of Commerce, while Roy became Minister of Consumer Affairs, Associate Minister of Defence and Associate Minister of Education. [25]

2008–2011

However, after 2008, some caucus MPs and organisational members became dissatisfied with ACT's coalition partner status and argued at ACT's national conference (27 February 2010) that there were insufficient fiscal responsibility policy gains for their party and that the National Party had resiled from its earlier commitment to the politics of fiscal responsibility over the course of the previous decade. Throughout 2009, there had been at least one reported ACT caucus coup attempt against Hide's leadership, believed to have been led by Deputy Leader Heather Roy and Roger Douglas. However, it faltered when Prime Minister Key supported Hide's retention and threatened a snap election. In addition, the party's polling of a lowly one to two percent in most opinion polls meant only Heather Roy might accompany Hide after any forthcoming general election, if Hide retained ACT's Epsom pivotal electorate seat. [26]

On 28 April 2011, Hide announced that he was resigning the ACT leadership in favour of former National Party leader and Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash who joined the party that morning. Brash's leadership was unanimously approved by the party board and parliamentary caucus on 30 April. [27] Brash promised to focus the party on controlling government debt, equality between Māori and non-Māori, and rethinking the Emissions Trading Scheme, with a target of getting 15 percent of the party vote in the next election. [10]

In November 2011, a recording of a conversation held between John Key and the former National Party member and former Mayor of Auckland City John Banks, who had been selected as the new ACT candidate in Epsom, was leaked to Herald on Sunday. [28] [29] 3 News also obtained copies of the recording suggesting the two politicians were discussing issues related to ACT New Zealand's leadership. [28]

2011 election

In the 2011 New Zealand general election, ACT fielded 55 list candidates, starting with new leader Don Brash, Catherine Isaac, Don Nicolson, John Banks, David Seymour and Chris Simmons. [30] The election was a disappointment for ACT, with the party's worst election result since it began in 1996. John Banks retained the Epsom seat for ACT, however the 34.2% majority held by Rodney Hide was severely cut back to 6.3% as large numbers of Labour and Green voters in Epsom tactically split their vote and gave their electorate vote to the National candidate Paul Goldsmith. Nationwide, ACT received only 1.07% of the party vote, placing eighth out of 13 on party vote percentage. [31] As a result, ACT were only entitled to one seat in the new Parliament, filled by John Banks. Subsequently, Don Brash announced that he had stepped down as leader during his speech on election night. [32] [33] Following the 2011 general election John Banks stated that he believed that the ACT brand "...just about had its use-by date..." and needed to be renamed and relaunched. [34]

Their previous partners, the New Zealand National Party, again won the most seats overall, and formed a minority government. The Fifth National Government of New Zealand had ACT support as well as that of United Future and the Māori Party, providing the coalition with confidence and supply.

2014 election

David Seymour and Jamie Whyte at the ACT selection announcement for Leader and Epsom in February 2014 ACT Selection Announcement for Leader and Epsom- Seymour & Whyte.jpg
David Seymour and Jamie Whyte at the ACT selection announcement for Leader and Epsom in February 2014

At the ACT Board meeting of 2 February 2014, Jamie Whyte became the party's leader-elect, and David Seymour was made the ACT candidate for Epsom. Kenneth Wang was appointed deputy leader on 15 April 2014. In the September 2014 New Zealand general election, Seymour won his seat, and ACT moved from seventh to sixth place, despite a decline in their share of the popular vote. Seymour took over as party leader on 3 October 2014. [35] [36]

2017 election

Wang resigned as deputy leader on 9 July 2017, the same day ACT released its party list; Beth Houlbrooke was announced as his replacement. [37]

The Party List had 39 candidates, none of whom were elected. [38] Party leader David Seymour was re-elected in the Epsom electorate, giving the party its only seat. [7]

Electoral results

ElectionCandidates nominatedSeats wonVotesVote share %Position [A] Government/Opposition
ElectorateList
1996 6556
8 / 120
126,4426.10%5thCrossbenches
1999 6165
9 / 120
145,4937.04%4thOpposition
2002 [22] 5660
9 / 120
145,0787.14%4th
2005 5659
2 / 121
34,4691.50%7th
2008 5861
5 / 122
85,4963.65%4thSupported Fifth National Government
2011 5055
1 / 121
23,8891.07%7th
2014 3941
1 / 121
16,6890.69%6th
2017 3639
1 / 120
13,0750.50%5thCrossbenches
^A Ranked by number of seats, then by number of votes as a tie-breaker.

Leadership

Leaders

Deputy leaders

Parliamentary leaders

Presidents

Vice-presidents

  • David Schnauer (1999–2000)
  • Rodney Hide (2000–2001)
  • Vince Ashworth (2001–2004)
  • John Ormond (2004–2006)
  • Trevor Loudon (2006–2008)
  • Michael Crozier (2008–2009)
  • Dave Moore (2009–2010)
  • Bruce Haycock (2010–2014)
  • Beth Houlbrooke (2014–2016)
  • Heather Anderson (2016–2017)
  • Michaela Draper (2017–2018)
  • Beth Houlbrooke (2018–present)

Elected representatives

Current Members of Parliament

Former Members of Parliament

See also

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References

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