ACT leader Don Brash is rejecting speculation he is about to be rolled.
Reports yesterday suggested the party's board was about to dump the former National leader in favour of Epsom candidate John Banks.The chances of any party dumping its leader this close to an election seem slight, even if Dr Brash's leadership of ACT has been an unmitigated disaster. On the other hand, with ACT nothing would be a surprise.
Dr Brash has clashed with the board in recent weeks over a speech in which he backed decriminalising cannabis.
Insiders also brushed off the suggestion that Dr Brash would be deposed, saying the board would be "crazy" to throw the party into turmoil so close to the election.
Dr Brash said: " It's the biggest beat-up I've ever heard in my life."
I'm no fan of the party, but even its (mostly former) supporters should be able to acknowledge that Brash's involvement with ACT has been a total failure, with the party sliding even more into irrelevancy and farce.
ACT's current polling is as dire as when Brash took over, and there seems to be little light at the end of the tunnel for the party. The move to recruit John Banks was a cynical one, because Banks is not a "real" ACT man, and is only there because he has value as an electoral lifeline. So it would serve Brash right if Banks ended up running the show.
It would probably also spell the end of ACT in the medium term, though the party might limp on for a year or two. I really cannot see how a moral conservative like John Banks could run and sustain a party founded on libertarian principles.