Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Hooton rules out standing for Act in Epsom

Matthew Hooton. File photo / NZ Herald
Matthew Hooton. File photo / NZ Herald

Political commentator and lobbyist Matthew Hooton has ruled out standing for Act in Epsom at this year's general election.

In an column published online on the National Business Review this afternoon, Mr Hooton also said he would not set up a new right wing political party as had also been speculated.

Mr Hooton said he had considered setting up a new political party as a means of keeping Labour, the Greens and Hone Harawira's Mana Party out of Government by providing a viable potential coalition partner for National.

He said it was clear that any such party would need to be supported by "the remnants of Act and ideally also those who devote time and energy to the Libertarianz".

However he had learned over the summer break that "those involved with Act will not let go of the party they have been committed to, in some cases, for nearly 20 years".

"Seeking to establish a new political vehicle in the few months before the election campaign would cause enormous disruption and division on the right and would serve the goal of keeping Labour's far left out of power", he wrote.

Having reached that decision he said he considered seeking Act's nomination for Epsom and believed he could win the seat for the party and maintain "a classical liberal presence in Parliament, which I believe is absolutely essential".

"Nevertheless my decision is no."

Mr Hooton said Act needed to stand on its own two feet and differentiate itself from National rather being perceived as "a subsidiary of the bigger brand".

"The people to take it forward are those with history in the party, not ring-ins from National, like Don Brash, John Banks, Michelle Boag or me."

Mr Hooton endorsed management consultant Jamie Whyte who is seeking both the Act leadership and the Epsom nomination as the best choice for leader and long time Act member David Seymour as the best choice to stand in Epsom.

"Both are undoubtedly Act deep in their souls, not mere darker shades of National blue."

Mr Hooton's column comes a day after former Act Leader and Epsom MP Rodney Hide used his Herald On Sunday column to announce he would not seek the nomination.

Other than Mr Whyte and Mr Seymour who have confirmed they will seek the nod for Act in Epsom, former Act President Chris Simmons is also considering running for the job.

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