Tomorrow's Act conference may be the last for leader David Seymour.

He is not going anywhere. His foray into Dancing with the Stars has made him a household name and there is no question of him not contesting Epsom again.

But one of the issues to be debated this weekend is whether to change the party name.

Seymour and president Ruwan Premathilaka are planning a relaunch of the party in March next year and Seymour is billing tomorrow's conference in Auckland as "a pre-launch of the relaunch."


The membership had been polled on the future of the party and they have held meetings throughout the country.

"What they have said is they are not angry. They don't think we have been incompetent or stupid. They think, all things considered, we were pretty organised and campaigned okay.

"But equally they accept that what we have done had been a total failure and we are not going anywhere and therefore we need to do something completely different."

There was a strong mandate to change the direction of the party, Seymour said.

The only controversial element was what to do about the name.

"If I had a vote for every person that says they like David, this or that policy but they would never vote for Act, I would probably be in Government."

But he had also been warned that changing a brand was the most dangerous manoeuvre in marketing and the moment you did it, you would suddenly realise how much recognition you had before.

"That is the open debate."


The other debate was whether the party should to go back to basics, opposing big Government, increased taxation, or trying to be like the Opportunities Party, with party of new ideas with a policy wonk as a leader.

Seymour thought the party was headed back to basics, with better brand clarity.

"We have been far too dispersed in our positions. Our reason for existing is that there is too much Government, too much tax, too much regulation. No one is doing anything about it so we will."

Formed in 1994, in its heyday, under the leadership of Richard Prebble, the party had nine MPs - after the 1999 and 2002 elections.

For the past three elections, it has had only one MP, by dint of winning the Epsom seat in an electoral accommodation with National.

A lot of Seymour's energy has been tied up in the euthanasia bill he is sponsoring, the End of Life Choice Bill.

He acknowledged there were opportunity costs working on the bill but it was by no means all he did.

He had led a protest march up Queen St with students affected by the decision to close charter schools and for the past week, he had spent a lot of time on the free speech issue.

Asked to sum up the state of the party, he said: "I think Elton John summit it up well. He said 'I'm still standing'."