Candidate: Act Party needed

By Zac Yates

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Alan Davidson (third from right) at a Grey Power meeting before the 2011 general election. Photo/Stuart Munro
Alan Davidson (third from right) at a Grey Power meeting before the 2011 general election. Photo/Stuart Munro

A Wanganui Act Party candidate says the decision by leader John Banks to not seek re-election was expected but said the party would continue.

At Wednesday's press conference Banks, who will appear before the High Court next year on charges he filed false returns regarding election donations, told media anyone who knew him "well knows I would not file a false return of anything".

"I'm not guilty of any offence, I have nothing to fear and nothing to hide."

Party president John Boscawen said the party's board would go through the process of selecting a new leader to replace Banks, when he stepped down in March, at the party's next annual meeting.

"This is not the end of the Act Party. The party can rebuild."

Alan Davidson, who has stood for the Whanganui electorate seat in the past two general elections, agreed with his president's view that the party would go on.

"I've read three obituaries for the Act Party before the past three elections, and I imagine I'll read another before the next one.

"All other parties promise this and that - 'vote for me and I'll give you this' - and quite often these promises are fanciful because the economy can't support them."

Mr Davidson said while he did not know Banks personally, he knew of his background and said he had no problem with him staying as MP for Epsom until the election.

"He was elected for the seat of Epsom so I think he should stay on - just as I agree with Jack Bullock staying on as councillor.

"It's a very small matter."

While he said he would welcome the return of Rodney Hide as leader "if he's still got the energy", Mr Davidson had an idea of who should replace Banks as party leader.

"I can't name names, but there are a lot of very capable people in the party. It's whether they are good politicians or not that is the question."

At the 2011 election Mr Davidson had 139 votes for the Whanganui seat, down from 336 at the 2008 election. He said that although Act didn't have the same level of grassroots support as Labour and National he would stand next year. "I'd like to take the message out there - I think it's an important one. There's still a need for a party like this."

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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