What will be the effect of Don Brash's dope blunder?

Ian Llewellyn makes a good point: It is strange no one has noted yet how easy it is easy to change leaders within ACT.

Or to swap Epsom candidates for that matter.

Don Brash's drug announcement on the weekend was plainly a blunder. The day was set up for a major law and order policy speech. It wasn't meant to be angled on this part of the policy. Now the party is furiously distancing itself from the leader's comments, and John Banks is granting himself a veto over party policy and over his leader by declaring decriminalisation will never be party policy.

In turn, this sets up Don Brash and Act to occupy the worst of both worlds:

  • Those worried about decriminalization now know that he supports it.
  • While those who support it know the party will never use their vote for promote it, so there is no point switching to Act for the ganga.

All of which raises a question: What is the point of Don Brash's leadership of Act?

He was supposed to restore the party's polling fortunes. He hasn't.

He was supposed to reinforce the party's prospects in Epsom. He has just put a bomb under them.

If John Banks is going to have a veto over policy and over the leader, why not make him the leader?

I have heard that the Board is still loyal to Rodney Hide, who at the weekend ruled out any prospect of returning to politics.

But you just wonder if there wouldn't be ironic symmetry if Don Brash was hustled out as quickly as he hustled himself in, by a Board loyal to John Banks?

Let's look at the market: The odds of Don Brash going before the election have been slightly climbing.

The odds for Act in Epsom have been falling (and that contract includes the prospects of Labour's David Parker winning it through a split vote - which the market thinks is remote.)

The chances of National winning the seat are forecast to be up.

Comments

Re: Lies

Previous commenter wrote:

"He was supposed to restore the party's polling fortunes. He hasn't." - Lie. ACT is ranked higher or iPredict than it has been in a long time. Hovering around 5%

Wrong. The last several actual poll results (from Colmar Brunton, Roy Morgan, Reid, etc) for ACT average around 1.6%, and iPredict is NOT polling. It is a prediction market with a number of limitations that are particularly obvious in the minor party share of vote contracts: there's a relatively small pool of traders, and the combination of trading fees and a price close to zero deter shorting the price down. (The ACT party share contract would have been better traded at 10c/1% like the Mana, Conservative, etc parties - and perhaps iPredict could consider removing the trading fee for contracts like party share that don't close at $0 or $1.)

Now I don't think ACT will get even its 2008 election result of 3.65% of the vote, so in theory I should put my money where my opinion is but why would I bother shorting down the price on iPredict? To short-sell 10 shares priced around $0.04 right now would cost me a little over $9.60, including a few cents of trading fee, and return a few cents profit after election night if ACT achieve a repeat 3.65% vote. To me that is a waste of nearly $10 liquidity. (I am playing the party share vote contracts, but with mostly short term rather than long term positions; I'm up around $20 in the VOTE.2011.* contracts so far including a quick couple of bucks this morning when I noticed someone had sold ACT down to $0.02, probably an overreaction to one new poll, so I bought over a hundred shares and sold a few minutes later at the rebound to $0.04, nice bit of fun.)

That said, there clearly are some iPredict traders willing to tie up a reasonable amount of money between now and the election for paltry possible profit: it has been common to see contracts selling hundreds of NZ First party vote shares just below $0.05 (e.g. there's a sell order of 168 at $0.0489 now) - maybe this is to keep NZF from having any seats on the live projection of this website. I don't think NZ First has much of a chance of getting to the 5% threshold, certainly more chance than ACT but not a lot more - but I wouldn't bother tying up my iPredict liquidity to short NZF down as some are doing.

The iPredict market is interesting and, again, a bit of fun. But it clearly has some market force limitations (like the fees and the 1c/1% contract for a party as minor as ACT) that make its party vote predictions for the minor parties in particular very unreliable as a true measure of the "wisdom of the crowd".

shh

About NZ First and the shorting, It is a fun game, Someone is always willing to sell at around the 0.025 mark and someone is always willing to buy up to the 5 percent threshold. True it is probably not worth the effort for the money involved, but I enjoy it

burgees

all i know is brash has won my vote and many of my friends even friends from the left .its a great thing for act to go libertarian

Lies

Let's not tell blatant lies here.

"the party is furiously distancing itself from the leader's comments" - Lie. Support within the party is massive. Why would they distance themselves, anyway? ACT is a socially liberal party, more so than ever now that it's shed its conservative skin.Within ACT, Banks is a solitary nut.

"He was supposed to restore the party's polling fortunes. He hasn't." - Lie. ACT is ranked higher or iPredict than it has been in a long time. Hovering around 5%, that's six or seven MPs. The way things are going, the party might not even need to win an electorate in order to get into parliament.

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