Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rodney Hide, MP for Epsom

As well as being leader of ACT New Zealand, Rodney Hide is my local MP, a position he's held for just over three years.

In the lead up for the 2005 general election, the ACT party seemed finished, founding leader Richard Prebble had resigned and the party was polling well under the 5% threshold to remain in parliament, things looked hopeless for ACT unless they could somehow win an electorate seat. In an interview with the student newspaper Salient, Rodney described winning Epsom as his most memorable moment in parliament
"Without doubt, off the top of my head, it is winning Epsom in 2005. because we had such a trauma for 18 months with everyone, everyday writing us off, and then to sneak through – and it was an enormous amount of work from myself and a number of supporters."

Until a few days out from the election nobody really expected him to do it, National had abandoned the centre and was trying to collapse ACT's vote. The leafy tree lined avenues of Epsom housed one of Auckland's most blue ribbon electorates that had voted National since some time in the Precambrian, yet Rodney and his team were out there every day knocking on doors waving placards and doing everything else you could imagine to promote themselves.

On election night, Rodney had the numbers to take Epsom and the party had just enough votes to bring in Heather Roy as a list MP.

For the last three years Rodney has worked hard as our local MP, turning up at all types of community events and even becoming a "television personality" with appearances on talk shows and his spectacular run on Dancing with the stars. Spectacular mainly because he managed to survive on the popular vote for several weeks despite the judges wanting to write him off ... sounds a lot like his political life.

In the 2008 general election Rodney increased his personal vote winning Epsom by a large majority and ACT increased its party vote and now has 5 MPs in parliament. As I am writing this the new National ministry is close to being announced, possibly only hours away, and it seems highly likely that Rodney will be a minister outside cabinet.
(Update 6PM) It's been announced that Rodney and Heather Roy will both be ministers.
His job now, is to stand for the values that ACT was elected on and to effectively represent those views in parliament, but he also needs to remember that he is there, not because ACT passed the 5% threshold, but because the people of Epsom put him there. We look forward to seeing him doing as good a job for us this parliamentary term as he did in the previous one.

Originally published on Qondio

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