Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

'Cactus Kate' may push Heather Roy to quit

Act MP Heather Roy. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Act MP Heather Roy. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Cathy Odgers, the author of the acerbic website Cactus Kate, is expected to be approved today as an Act candidate - one of the reasons sitting MP Heather Roy is likely to today announce she will stand down at this year's election.

Cathy Odgers is a corporate lawyer who lives in Hong Kong.

She is back in New Zealand and this week attended a private surprise party for former leader Rodney Hide in his favoured Newmarket haunt, the Mecca cafe and bar.

Prime Minister John Key also called in to the party for a couple of hours and spoke in glowing terms about Epsom MP Mr Hide, who was deposed as Act leader by Don Brash in April. The Act board is meeting in Auckland today.

Cathy Odgers' blog, Cactus Kate, has been scathing about people in the party she believed had been disloyal to Mr Hide and undermined his leadership.

However, after the coup in April, she called for the infighting to stop and for the party to unite behind Dr Brash.

Heather Roy backed Dr Brash's leadership coup against Mr Hide in April.

She had hoped to regain her position as deputy leader, which she held until the breakdown in her relationship with Mr Hide came to a head last year.

Dr Brash chose deputy leader John Boscawen to remain as deputy and become Act's parliamentary leader.

Dr Brash has improved Act's ratings marginally but it is still well below the 5 per cent threshold and would need to keep Epsom to be returned to Parliament.

Former Auckland City mayor and National minister John Banks will be Act's Epsom candidate in November.

Cathy Odgers is expected to address one of Act's weaknesses, its appeal to women and especially to young women.

Heather Roy lives in Wellington and was elected to Parliament in 2002. She was Consumer Affairs Minister and Associate Defence Minister under the confidence and supply agreement with National.

Cactus Kate:

* On Hilary Calvert, list MP, after she responded to outrage over caged chickens by saying Act cared about people ahead of "silly little chickens":

Earth to Act - Throw Calvert Overboard!!!

I just can't take it any more. What barrel did Act scrape to find this mad woman?

I personally cannot wait to rank my Act Party list candidates. Calvert will not be on my list at all. Another piss poor quality female candidate #fail. Little wonder we have to revert to grumpy old men.

* On John Banks:

Banks is just awful. He makes you want to consider voting Len Brown. Two-time losing mayoral candidate Banks is political desperation at its finest ... his political philosophy isn't even close to Act's.

* On Don Brash:

Brash will not survive to this November unless the party is staunchly united behind him like we've never been behind any leader before and he is managed by some sort of political genius.

- NZ Herald

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