The curious rules of coups
There is a plot within the belegerled ACT party to replace leader Rodney Hide. Senior party members have asked former deputy leader Ken Shirley to challenge Hide for the leadership.
Public statements to the media in such situations that 'all is well' should be taken with a grain of salt, as just about every leadership challenge includes a denial of a leadership challenge, right before there is a leadership challenge. What is not being said is often a better guide to what is going on.
Shirley will only confirm he supported 'the ACT party leadership', but declined to clarify whether this meant he supported Hide.
Former vice-president of ACT Vince Ashworth also declined to say whether he was comfortable with Hide as leader, but added "I always believed that Ken (Shirley) would have been the better leader. I say that because of his experience, and he's a person I've always left I can trust."
So Ashworth thinks Rodney Hide is untrustworthy. Act MP Deborah Coddington declines to comment whether she supports Hide. Roger Douglas and Derek Quigley want no hear or Hide. ACT president Catherine Judd does not really want Hide either, as she supported Franks for the leadership.
Hide desperately attempts to blame the rumours on 'Helen Clark's cheap shots', while the Press confirms no Labour party sources were in any way involved in their reporting.
I would not be surprised at all if it turns out Shirley is the stooge candidate for the leadership, an MP on the way out who is being used to test support for a challenge. Shirley will take the rap for challenging the leader, allowing John Banks or Stephen Franks to mount a clean(er) challenge later.
This will lead to a glorious mess, and ACT will be tossed out of Parliament. Not even their cabal of wealthy backers, with their record dodgy donation deals will be able to save them.