Yesterday, I posted a link to Johnny Moore’s column about the Ministry nightclub being pulled down by CERA. There’s a by-election going on in town, and one of the candidates decided that it was worth making hay out of this issue. Surprisingly, the party that put it’s hand up was ACT. It’s an interesting press release, and shows just how conflicted the ACT Party is these days; they’re arguing for property rights and that the government shouldn’t be intervening in people’s business; at the same time, the only other issue that Gareth Veale has said anything about in Christchurch East has been from the Sensible Sentencing-trust wing of the party, the “Three Strikes” bill. While I’d never vote for them, it does kind of hearten me to see ACT making the libertarian argument about the blueprint – but where were they on this when the plan came out 18 months ago?

The campaign run by ACT has been about as coherent as their policy; they’ve put out this press release, about a nightclub in Christchurch Central electorate that has nothing to do with the East, and they have two massive billboards – also in Christchurch Central, rather than East. I’m picking that the Conservative’s Leighton Baker will beat Gareth Veale tomorrow, and probably reasonably comfortably (considering we’re talking about the likely 4th and 5th placed candidates.) If that’s the case, then the narrative coming out of this by-election may not be about Labour or National, but that Colin Craig has properly established himself as an electoral contender – and that the conflicted, confused ACT brand is done and dusted. Results are expected to start coming in around 9, with confirmation after 10.

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