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Hide faces challenge from within party

Published: 6:22PM Tuesday August 24, 2010 Source: ONE News/Newstalk ZB

There are fresh problems for Act leader Rodney Hide, with reports a member of his own party plans to contest his nomination for the seat of Epsom.

Newstalk ZB reported Peter Tashkoff, who is number seven on Act's party list, would contest the nomination after Hide's handling of the dumping of Act deputy, Heather Roy, last week.

Tashkoff said he had no faith in Hide, and was disgusted with how he had handled the Roy saga.

He said Hide was a failure as a leader and a liability to the party.

The revelation comes after Hide signalled earlier today that Roy would find it extremely difficult to stay on as an MP, despite saying last week that she would be welcomed back into the caucus.

Roy was voted out of her deputy leadership role last week and replaced by John Boscawen. She also resigned from her roles as Associate Defence Minister and Consumer Affairs Minister.

Today, Hide was questioning whether his former deputy would be able to cope.

"Heather is on leave and she needs to be thinking through her options. I think the difficulty that she has got is she has put herself into a position where there are a lot of tough questions to be asked," Hide said today.

Confidential notes prepared by Roy for a caucus meeting were leaked to media last week, revealing tension between her and Hide.
Hide also said today he had already been talking to Roy's potential replacement - Dunedin businesswoman Hilary Calvert, who had travelled to Wellington and will meet with party bosses.

"I have spoken with the Act Party to the extent of them having an understanding that if there was an opportunity there I would step up," Calvert told ONE News.

It was understood that Roy may be also losing her only supporter in caucus, Sir Roger Douglas.

That was despite Douglas saying last week that Roy would pick up some responsibilities, including taking his place sitting on the education committee, on her return.

"I think it's fair to say Roger is upset with (the confidential notes) being leaked," Hide said when questioned over Douglas' support of Roy.

"Sad and pathetic saga"

Hide tonight said the whole Roy saga had been "a sad and in many ways a pathetic saga".

In a speech to the Rotary Club in his Epsom electorate he said, "I am saddened by what has happened to Heather Roy, in particular by the leaking of material, much of it malicious and designed to cause maximum harm to the party." 

He said he had not given much background last week about the change of deputy leader partly because was "giving Heather the chance to put this behind us, and move on as a team".

He said the next day Roy agreed to accept that olive branch, and they gave two joint interviews. 

"But during that day we discovered that the document which, in part, had been the basis of her case for retaining the deputy leadership, had been leaked to the media and some bloggers.

"Cameron Slater of the Whaleoil blog identified the source of these documents, showing that they came from Heather's ministerial advisor, who by the weekend had admitted leaking them.

"It is a sad and in many ways a pathetic saga."

Hide said various commentators have "dusted off their old commentaries, and decided for the 15th year running that ACT is finished".

He said it was not the end for the Act party, because it was "based on ideals and values".

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