The political graffiti are now writ large on the wall for Rodney Hide's leadership of Act after the apparent Easter rising within the party. Hide has to go.

It is most unlikely that Don Brash would be making such a public pitch for his job as leader without some kind of guarantee from Hide's opponents that they now have the numbers to dump the incumbent.

Even if he has no such guarantee - the putative putsch still seems to be at a preliminary and somewhat tentative stage - Brash is making an offer the rest of the five-strong Act caucus simply cannot refuse.

Easter is all about resurrection.

In Act's (currently hopeless) case, Brash alone offers the possibility of recovery from its basement-level poll ratings.

The pressure is now on Act's deputy leader, John Boscawen, and novice MP Hillary Calvert to swing in behind Sir Roger Douglas and Heather Roy and effect the necessary, if brutal, change.

The best thing Hide could do is resign before he is pushed. He should not just relinquish the leadership, however. He should go the whole hog and forgo standing for Act in Epsom and allow Brash, or former Auckland City mayor and National Cabinet minister John Banks, to become the party's candidate in the electorate.

With National giving the right nod and a wink to its supporters and campaigning solely for the party vote, Brash would win the seat in a canter. Though installing Brash as leader would be done with the longer-term objective of turning Act into a 5 per cent-plus party like the Greens, a Brash victory in Epsom would preserve Act's lifeline to Parliament for the vital short term.

This is the ultimate test of Hide's capacity to do the right thing. The party's interests must always come before personal ones. And he knows it.

In this case, however, it might yet be the case that Hide's own interests are actually better served by him stepping down from the leadership.

Act is currently heading for parliamentary oblivion. The indications are the highly compromised Hide will lose Epsom.

If he was to retain a high list ranking - a price he could negotiate by going without fuss and promising to work constructively under Brash's leadership - Hide might yet stay in Parliament and conceivably might even remain a minister in a second term National-led government.

That would hinge on Brash's elevation producing the required recovery in Act's fortunes.

You don't have to be Albert Einstein to work out that no one else has a better chance of achieving that outcome.

As National discovered, Brash's leadership skills are idiosyncratic, more suited to running a strictly hierarchical organisation like the Reserve Bank than coping with the unpredictable nature of politics where what seems to be the right decision can quickly turn out to be the wrong one.

But that does not matter for now.

Brash personifies Act's core principles of freedom and choice. In one stroke, Act's currently heavily tarnished brand would be substantially cleansed.

The party would surely get an immediate upward spike in the polls. Those activists who have given up on Act because they saw Hide's pragmatism as breaching core principles would flock back. That could be crucial in helping Act to have party workers on the ground come the election in November.

More important, perhaps, Brash taking the helm would see money flowing into the severely cash-strapped party from corporate sources.

Hide's claim that Brash, who is 70, is too old for the job and that it is hard to see him contesting the 2014 campaign is irrelevant.

Act needs Brash now. Otherwise Act will not have a 2014 campaign to fight.

If time is a problem - and Brash's apparent preference to lead an existing political vehicle rather than set up a new one suggests it is - it is not because of Brash's age. It is because election day is now less than seven months away. And even Brash needs time to work what would be a miracle recovery.