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Key talks up "fantastic, amazing, smart" Prebble

UPDATE / Feb 24: Prime Minister John Key has gone ga-ga over Mad Dog's return.

Asked by TV3's Firstline what he thought of Richard Prebble's return to ACT's frontline, as campaign director, the PM said:

"It will help a lot. When I came in, in 2002, Richard was in Parliament, and I used to go down to the house and spend all of the spare time watching the guys I thought were really, really good there – and he is fantastic; amazing institutional knowledge, very smart politician, knows what he’s doing."

He added that although National and ACT competed for votes on the right, ACT was a good partner and, "At the end of the day I think there’s a market out there for ACT, they are to the right of us of course, but they’ve got a good candidate in David Seymour and a good leader in Jamie Whyte. ACT has got a credible place in Parliament and Richard will help them."

But asked if he would endorse a party vote for ACT in Epsom, the PM suddenly acted a little less love-struck, saying: "Potentially, but it’s early days and who knows how those things will move around."

Meanwhile, Mr Prebble returned the PM's praise, saying Key is the most remarkable politician he has every seen.

Richard Prebble returns to ACT in 'key role'

Feb 23: Mad Dog is back.

Rogernomics-era Labour cabinet minister turned ACT leader Richard Prebble (66) is returning to politics as the party’s campaign director for the 2014 election.

Acting party president Barbara Astill announced Richard Prebble’s appointment as campaign director after a board meeting yesterday.

“The appointment of Richard Prebble as Campaign Director means ACT goes into the election with the country’s best election strategist,” Mrs Astill says.

“Richard Prebble is a campaigning legend. He was the architect of ACT’s greatest campaigning victories, including taking ACT from a virtual zero in the polls in 1996 to winning Wellington Central and taking seven MPs into parliament. Under Richard ACT increased its vote in every election. As a Labour MP Richard won the biggest general seat majority in parliament not once but twice.

Prebble plan for nine MPs
“Richard Prebble has presented the ACT Board with a campaign strategy to win not only the Epsom electorate but also nine MPs. The ACT Board has endorsed the Prebble campaign plan, which will be presented to the ACT Party Conference at the Villa Maria Estate, Mangere, this Saturday,” Mr Astill says.

With ACT consistently polling at zero, the former leader has his work cut out.

The party also faces competition on from the Conservative Party.

Today, Mr Prebble took a pedestrian jab at Conservative leader Colin Craig, saying "He doesn't even know if man walked on the moon."

Show me the money
“I have come out of political retirement because Parliament needs at least one party willing to ask the question, where is the money coming from for all these political promises?” says Mr Prebble (whose pitbull style in Parliament saw him nicknamed Mad Dog - sometimes with affection, sometimes not).

Backed Jamie Whyte
“ACT needed fresh leadership and new ideas. I urged Dr. Jamie Whyte to stand for the leadership. Jamie will take ACT back to the original principles of the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers which made ACT the effective third force in politics," Mr Prebble says.

“I have been reading Jamie Whyte’s articles in the Wall Street Journal for years. He has an extraordinary knowledge of the world economy that will make him a very valuable member of parliament that any party would love to have.

“I have known David Seymour since he was a top engineering student at Auckland University. As someone educated in Epsom, David will be a very good MP for the electorate.

“ACT now has both the policies and the people. It is my job as director to ensure the voters learn about Dr. Jamie Whyte and ACT’s positive, practical solutions. The support will follow.

"A vote for ACT ensures not only that John Key remains Prime Minister, but that a future National-ACT government remains on the course of good financial sense.” 

Comments and questions

Good on you Richard. I'm not in Epsom, but Act will get my party vote. National will romp in if Act can get Epsom and at least 2% of the party vote. Here's hoping.

At last; the prospect of a return to the principles that first made ACT an attractive electoral option.
And a good chance that a vote for ACT will no longer be a vote wasted.

This may well be sufficient to return my vote to ACT.

At last, us 'righties' need a real Right Wing party to give our party vote to.
Kia Ora Mad dog !

Oh man, you guys for real? :-) what you recon you can retrieve the crakes of Act?
What does Act Stand for anyway?
What is right wing it seems now just old men in suites doing nothing?

Is English your first language - "recon, crakes" and old men in suites?"
Recon = a military term for gathering information
Crakes = Any of several short-billed birds of the family Rallidae
Suites = as follows:
• a set of musical pieces considered as one composition
• a set of related illustrations considered to be part of one composition
• a type of hotel room
• a kind of address or location in an office building, shopping mall, etc.
• a collection of rock specimens from a given area or a succession of closely associated sedimentary strata
• a furniture set of sofas and chairs

Can I suggest that you stick to voting for the policies of the Grenz, Layba or NZ Farce to further your educashun (sic)

Another product of the public education system. Too bad charter schools weren't around to save you.

Soo true

Fantastic that Richard is back. ACT policy is appropriate not only for financial sense but for educational sense as well. Do check out ACT Education Policy.

Unleash the beast.....

Best comment ever

With National polling 51% and Act sure to pick up a seat and a reasonable party vote, it's almost enough for Labour to take a deep breath and dump the hapless Cunliffe while they've still got time to promote a new leader. 'It's now or never'.

Good news indeed!

Bdaaahahaha! ACT need whatever they can get. Too bad miracles are off the menu.

When Prebble was minister of SOEs, the National party's TV campaign slogan was "We're worse off now than we ever were."

Desperation on the cusp of madness....

Great move. Richard stand a decent candidate in Wellington Central - we need some accountability and focus on the obvious failings of the labour party interventionist policies - which led the the disasterous state we are now in. The public service is out of control, with no decisions being the norm no matter how obvious the decision should be. Most public servants vote Labour - they always have, and TVNZ is only one example of bias. This country is going to hell in a hand basket without a return to good solid self responsibilitty for actions. one of the major problems is the number of self serving public servants stopping businesses performing.

ACT are looking better and better every day - keep it coming guys. They got my vote.

A little disappointed, as I was hoping for a clean sweep. I'll give him a chance, No more clowns and show ponies please and no more circus's,
By the way, does anybody know why ACT's conference is not being held in Epsom??

Richard Prebble was one of the primary reasons for cancelling my ACT membership at the end of '99. 2 elections saw the best, most-promising policies become watered down and the party become more like the US Republicans minus the christian fundamentalism (neither of those are a good thing).

This merely affirms the fact that ACT are a spent political force and have no one to represent an actual 21st century policy set for freedom lovers like myself! Enough of this "right wing" political niche positioning. Someone start a party that values liberty without resorting to ill-considered, old-school philosophies with a campaign propped up by a self-proclaimed "Mad Dog"

Gosh with a Nat near majority and Act potentially being re-elected we could have a government that can actually make policy that fixes our future than the sit on the fence proportional representation rubbish we have had since changing the voting system.

Unleash the fanboys! (Actually, both of them are running amok).

What are these "ill-considered, old-school philosophies" with which you disagree?

Prebble is a good man but I fear the antics of the last 5 years especially the takeover by Don Brash, another good man but no political charisma and then the nasty spiteful and other unprintable descriptions of Banks likely means the party will struggle to survive outside Epson