17 Jan 2014

Boscawen throws hat in ring for Epsom

7:42 am on 17 January 2014

ACT Party president and former MP John Boscawen has announced he is seeking the party's nomination for the Epsom electorate in Auckland.

The current ACT leader and Epsom MP, John Banks, is standing down at the election because he is facing a charge of filing a false electoral return over his bid for the Auckland mayoralty in 2010.

Mr Boscawen, who had earlier ruled out standing for Epsom, said on Thursday the party must rebuild its previous support and parliamentary representation.

He told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme he has been told by a number of people to throw his hat in the ring.

"I have the profile and I've been involved with the party for a very long period of time. Our party has obviously weakened with the issues we've had in Parliament over the last four or five years, and I believe I can provide the right direction."

Other ACT party members who have signalled their intention to seek the Epsom nomination include Jamie Whyte and David Seymour.

A political commentator says after years of the National and ACT parties teaming up in Epsom the public now wants to vote for the party they actually support, and for their vote to count in the results.

Canterbury University political scientist Bronwyn Hayward said strategic game-playing distances the voter from the brand of the larger party. She said Mr Boscawen's announcement does little to inject life into a party that barely registered in the party vote rankings at the last election.