Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hide on comebacks

Rodney Hide has used his Herald on Sunday column to try and breathe some life into the moribund Act Party. But he has also ruled out any talk of a comeback; he writes:

Act provides a much-needed political counterweight to the other parties calling always for more government spending and ever-more regulation.
We need a champion for individual freedom and personal responsibility. Act is that champion.
I loved being MP for Epsom. The people were very good to me. It was a tremendous privilege to get to know the diverse communities and neighbourhoods in such a great part of our greatest city.
In my time, thousands of people came to see me from across the political spectrum, very often at the end of their tether. I was usually able to help. It was satisfying work.
I didn't want to go when I got the sack. As a minister in Government I was able to help Epsom people better than ever before and I finally had legislation under way to ensure better and more-principled government.
But that's politics. It wasn't to be.
And now the position of Act candidate for Epsom is open again. I am very pleased Act has excellent candidates in prospect. I have concluded it can't be me.
I now don't have the necessary passion and enthusiasm to do the job well. Yes, I loved it and I gave it everything I had. And then some. But it's gone now. I am not sure why that is. It just is.

If Rodney Hide no longer feels that he couldn't give the role of MP 100% commitment, he is doing the right thing by excluding himself from calculations early in the piece. If Act is to have a future, it needs to find new MP's and champions, not be forever looking back.

And Hide cites another MP as having been a crucial factor in his decision; read on:

There was a time when Winston Peters could rattle an entire government, bringing ministers to their knees. Now, even junior ministers get the better of him.
I think it's sad. Peters appears like some aged rock star who has partied way too hard and is now up on stage trying to relive the glory days. Or perhaps a champion boxer who has stayed too long in the ring. I wouldn't want that.
I thought the worst thing for Peters was getting dumped in 2008. No. The worst thing for Peters was getting back in 2011.
New MPs snigger at him. There was a time he would have swatted them down like flies.
I prefer to remember Peters as he was. He's a salutary lesson.

The Winston Peters of today is but a pale shadow of the man who was such a force in the 1980's, 1990's and early 2000's. Father Time has caught up with him, as have all the late nights and cigarettes. We wonder if he even has the heart for another rigorous election campaign this year, let alone whether he is physically up to the challenge. He has aged visibly since returning to Parliament in 2011.

And Rodney Hide is doing the right thing, in our ever-humble opinion. We reckon that David Cunliffe would be privately hoping that some of his longer-serving MP's might read Hide's column, and do an honest appraisal of their own situations. We already know that whatever happens on Election Day this year, National's caucus will look very different with potentially around 15% retiring. Labour at present seems incapable of rejuvenation.

Rodney Hide has chosen a new career that has nothing to do with politics. We wish him well.

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