ACT a populist party? TVNZ's Chief Correspondent John Campbell doesn't know the meaning of the word
Here's a good joke. TVNZ's John Campbell has written an article that states the following: "So, the party that began life as the pure and profoundly neoliberal offspring of the father of Rogernomics, has become a populist party"
David Seymour a populist? Are you kidding us? Does Campbell know the meaning of the word? Could TVNZ be that ignorant? Here is a simple definition of "populism": a political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by elite groups.
So who has been targeted by politicians throughout history as being part of an "elite" who are secretly scheming against the common man or woman to gain advantage? Quite often it has been the Jews (in Nazi Germany), highly educated types (or "intellectuals") or rich and powerful oligarchs who the people feel are controlling the nation.
So let's look at ACT. It is a party whose founder, Sir Roger Douglas, himself now argues represents only "the wealthy". Its donors include a who's who of NZ's richest. Graeme Hart has become a big donor & the Herald just reported that Seymour is flying around in a private plane gifted to him for the campaign by a rich businessman. The next day it was reported his Deputy went to a luncheon hosted by a "billionaire". On the intellectual side, there're more egg-heads in ACT than any other party - one of their former Presidents who I used to know, Jamie Whyte, has a Cambridge University PhD in philospohy. Furthermore, Trump-style populism in the US takes the form of supporting the steel workers whose jobs are threatened by the "ideal" of free trade, as supported by business elites & fancy-pants intellectual economists. Protectionism is Trump's answer. But ACT is super pro-free trade.
If you wished to start a "populist" party in NZ, then your primary target should be ACT. That's actually a great shame since Roger always wanted the party to be one that promoted equal opportunity & tore down "privilege" wherever it lay. The basis of his reforms was what Roger often refers to as "removing privilege". Roger's first job as a MP was in South Auckland in an electorate that includes one of the poorest suburbs in our country, Otara. His life mission was - and is - to help give everyone living in Otara the same opportunity to become prosperous as someone born into a more privileged suburb, like Seymour's Epsom electorate. That is the Sir Roger I know.
But that is not the point of this blog - the point is that TVNZ does not have a single clue what it is talking about running headlines labelling ACT a "populist" party. Can the bosses at that State owned broadcaster please go & look up the meaning of words before it goes & broadcasts such utter, utter nonsense to the nation. Why not just dismantle it?