I guess the question that has to be asked is
Has ACT really thrived?
They have certainly survived but as for thriving, this can really only be measured in poll results.
We won't really know if either Hide or Douglas are right until the next election.
And that election is going to be a tough one, especially as the voters are also going to be also considering the fate of the minor party lifeline - MMP.
The ACT brand is hog-tied to the Hide brand and whilst that has been their greatest strength it is also their greatest weakness.
No matter who is right, any party which continues with the wishy washy "Liberal" byline is a party that is still campaigning with a last century mindset.