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May 1, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Political Porn Update – ACT on Campus Breaks From Daddy Banks

A major splinter in the ACT party has developed, with its youth wing pulling away from Leader John Banks because he wants to lift the drinking age.

ACT on Campus, who formed an entourage of “Killer Bees” for Banks on the campaign trail, has passed a motion that it will not campaign for any candidate that opposes keeping the “drinking age” at 18.

In a party with just one MP, that means no support for Banks, who told the Sunday Star Times that he supports raising the purchasing age to 20, at both on and off-licensed premises.

ACT on Campus President Hayden Fitzgerald told Salient that the youth wing had taken the stance “to show the Party how important this issue is to us” and that they are “working really closely with John [Banks] on this issue”.

But that’s just an excuse. The reality is that ACT on Campus has been waiting for an issue where they can distance themselves from their leader. Their libertarian views don’t mesh with Banks’ social conservatism.

The motion forms just a part of a raft of moves by youth members showing their dissatisfaction with Banks, with relations between the two deteriorating since last year’s election.

At Victoria University’s orientation week, ACT on Campus was the only stall not to have an MP to attend their stall. When queried about Banks’ non-attendance, the response came, citing the leader as being “too conservative”.

Some of the more dissatisfied have taken to a secret “NZ Liberals” Facebook group to express their displeasure with the former Auckland Mayor. Discussions on the Facebook page include the plotting of a new political party to replace ACT.

The situation couldn’t be more of a reversal of November, when ACT on Campus “swarmed” Epsom, pulling long days of 6 am to 11 pm trying to get Banks across the line.

“The voices of our chorus were ACT on Campus, what a brilliant young group of New Zealanders. I’m so proud to know ACT on Campus. Thank you everyone from ACT on Campus who supported us” Banks said on election night.

The loss of support can’t come at a worse time. Trevor Mallard has had his complaint referred to police, alleging the deliberate of non-disclosure of donations during Banks’ failed Auckland Mayoralty bid.

The last time Banks faced legal trouble as an MP, he relied on the support of a then law student Wayne Eagleson. Eagleson, who is now John Key’s chief-of-staff, did the bulk of the legal research in preparation for Banks’ successful defence of a contempt of court charge in 1987.

With the battle for Keep It 18 heating up, the ACT on Campus stance could be replicated by other youth wings. “I know other Youth Wings are considering similar stuff” Fitzgerald said.

“Personally, I think they should. It’s really important that the Youth Wings don’t let their Party push them around.”

Photos of the above can be found here.

 

 

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Comments (3)

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  1. Grizz says:

    THANK GOD SOMEONE IS ADDRESSING THESE ISSUES!!

  2. John Banks says:

    Hamish McConnochie is my favourite political journalist. He also makes an excellent sugar daddy.

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