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Time for ACT to dissolve - Edwards

Monday 26 Sep 2011 9:10 a.m.

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By Ally Mullord

The departure of ACT Party deputy John Boscawen and leader Don Brash’s “farcical” announcement in support of marijuana reform are signs the party needs to dissolve, Otago University political commentator Bryce Edwards says.

Dr Edwards says Dr Brash’s statements in support of decriminalising cannabis are an attempt to draw attention away from the “amateur and strange” political position the party is in.

“[ACT] is really floundering in the polls, floundering with their own sense of direction… and whenever parties are like that, they sort of search around for some sort of magic bullet,” he says.

While the comments have successfully deflected media interest, Dr Edwards says the comments are Dr Brash’s personal opinion rather than ACT policy and as such shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

“At the same time that Don Brash is musing about this loudly, they're launching their law and order policy, which is pretty socially conservative,” he says.

“It’s not coherent… it’s talking to different audiences in a way that’s quite contradictory.”

Dr Edwards says Dr Brash’s suggestion to decriminalise cannabis is a move to draw attention away from the party’s other problems, particularly the resignation of second-in-command John Boscawen.

“Political parties, often when they’re a bit dysfunctional and are receiving a lot of bad publicity, try for deflection,” he says.

“[Dr Brash] wants to… take some of the attention away from the fact that John Boscawen has unexpectedly and suddenly announced his departure.”

ACT has lost its coherence and sense of direction, Dr Edwards says, and is “launching from one sort of farcical political arrangement to another”.

“I think their days are over, they need to dissolve, and it’s just becoming a bit of an embarrassment now,” he says.

“I don’t think there’s a way forward for them out of this.”

Watch the video for the full interview

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