WHY ACT?Â A personal statement from Don Brash
"When I first became politically aware, I was well to the left on the political spectrum.Â I was never Marxist, but certainly Christian socialist.Â For me, being a Christian meant being a socialist.Â I believed in an active role for a benevolent government; I supported raising the minimum wage; I was suspicious of foreign direct investment; I agreed that high income people should not only pay more tax than low income people, they should pay much more; and I was a Christian pacifist.
I gradually came to realise, as many others in ACT have done before me, that big government socialism does not in fact deliver the benefits which I originally believed, that raising the minimum wage may simply create more unemployment, that foreign direct investment almost always benefits the host country, that over-taxing the affluent may actually harm those on low incomes, and that in the modern world the use of armed force is sometimes the only option.
The National Party seemed to reflect my values.Â National's vision statement (on the National Party website) talks about limited government, personal responsibility, individual freedom and choice, equal citizenship, strong families, sustainable development of our environment, loyalty to our country and national and personal security.Â So I had no problem identifying with the National Party, either in the early eighties when I was a National Party candidate in East Coast Bays or after I came out of my long period of political neutrality as Governor of the Reserve Bank in 2002.
In 2005, I lead the National Party into the general election on a policy platform which broadly reflected those values.Â And no, the National Party didn't quite win that election, though National got a higher share of the total vote that year than in any election since 1990 - despite Labour's interest-free student loan bribe and Labour's over-spending the legal spending limit on its campaign by some 25%.
In 2008, the National Party won the election of course, and I welcomed that.Â But since that time the National-led Government has been a huge disappointment to me and to many thinking New Zealanders.Â It seems to give little weight to the values which it proclaims.
So I became increasingly frustrated - indeed, angry.Â The Government ignored National's previous commitment to equal citizenship, made no serious attempt to lift living standards in New Zealand relative to those in Australia, voted against Sir Roger Douglas's bill to reinstate youth minimum wages, and continued on with the wasteful spending programmes which National had railed against when Labour introduced them.Â The Government introduced an Emissions Trading System, despite none of our major trading partners doing anything similar.
In late 2010 and early 2011, I was approached by several people who felt equally let down by the Government, and I eventually decided I could no longer stand on the side-lines.Â The ACT Party stands for the same values as National claims to stand for, and the policies which ACT is promoting are those which I believe in and promoted to the New Zealand people in 2005.Â So my decision to seek a better future for all New Zealanders with ACT was an easy one.
I very much hope that ACT can make a major contribution to New Zealand's once again becoming the prosperous and harmonious country which we all want for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren."
-- Don Brash
Don's speech at the Wellington Campaign Close.
A debate with the minor party leaders, including ACT's Don Brash.
Don launches ACT's superannuation policy which calls for a referendum on raising the retirement age.
Transcripts of live online chats Don Brash participated in this year as ACT Leader.
Don launches ACT's policy on the Emissions Trading Scheme.
Don launches ACT's education policy, including a call for charter schools.
Don lays out why housing has become so expensive in New Zealand - and how we can redress this.
Don Brash's speech at the official launch of ACT's 2011 election campaign.
Don Brash's speech on how New Zealand can be made safer from serious criminals.
A speech given to some friends of Fiji, suggesting that the New Zealand Government should be taking steps to thaw our relationship with the Fiji military regime.
A major policy speech made while ACT Party Leader, focusing on the need to ensure all are equal before the law
Don spoke to the Auckland ACT Conference on the real and present dangers to housing affordability and property rights.
A major policy speech made while ACT Party Leader, outlining the economic policies needed to grow New Zealand's economy and living standards.
The second of Don's major policy speeches focuses on the need for an education system that actually educates our young.
Don Brash's first major speech of the 2011 election campaign, delivered at the ACT Upper South Regional Conference.
Don spoke to Rachel Smalley about Epsom, the Emissions Trading Scheme, Labour's proposed Capital Gains Tax and one law for all.
Keynote address at ACT Leader's Dinner, 22 July 2011
Don Brash debates ACT's one law for all stance with Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples
An interview with Don Brash at La Trobe University, Melbourne, in May 2011