Oh yes, ACT is the party that the media and the pundits just love to hate. It seems they're almost obsessed to try and find any fault in the party, whether real or fictional, and use it to back up their claim that the party is at the edge of oblivion. Just about every mainstream outlet is condemning ACT, Brash, Banks, and anyone else involved, wondering why the party is even bothering with the election this year. It seems as if the more they keep chanting 'It's over for ACT," one day their wish might just come true.
ACT appears to be polling low, but the results on iPredict and other sources show that we're still outpolling New Zealand First, will still have 5 seats in parliament, and will keep the Epsom electorate. While they think polls have dropped, we're still doing reasonably well, and with the word out on cannabis decriminalization, they may even improve.
Public support has been reasonably good for the cannabis stance (not yet policy), though all current politicians have condemned it. I find it odd that the media has ridiculed ACT for taking the bold step, while I doubt they'd give the same fanfare if the Greens announced a similar policy. The Greens have been getting pro-cannabis supporter votes for years despite having no cannabis policy, a waste of votes really, especially now ACT is the most progressive on this issue.
The media wants to play up that the party is divided over the issue, a rift between our two 'stars' party leader Don Brash and candidate for Epsom John Banks. While the two disagree on the topic, there is no policy yet and therefore nothing to disagree with while working together. They're still adamant that they're good friends and this does nothing to change them. The majority of the ACT caucus supports Dr Brash's stance, but those that do not are not condemned for it. ACT is unique in that we have no party whip and we encourage our MPs to make up their own minds on the issue; if a bill to decriminalize cannabis did get around, John Banks would not be required to support it. We do not need a party whip because we support individual's thinking, and we are more united than other parties in ideology that we do not need to be told how to vote.
Don Brash has already told the media that we have a strong line up this year, something the majority of ACT on Campus agrees with too. There is no internal squabbling or tension, there is no dropping polls, no leadership battles, and no wacky policies. The media has got nothing worth reporting on us, but since we're the party they love to hate, I admit - I'm surprised at how much they can fabricate news.