ACT confirms stronger relationship with National

Don Brash
Don Brash
ACT leader Don Brash has confirmed there will be stronger links between National's and ACT's election strategies this year.

In 2008, then ACT leader Rodney Hide won the Epsom seat for a second term after National encouraged support for Mr Hide on the electorate vote in exchange for support for National on the party vote.

Mr Hide's win allowed another four Act MPs to enter Parliament, even though it fell under the 5 percent party vote threshold required if parties were to win seats in the House without claiming an electorate.

National has already indicated the same strategy for Auckland's Epsom electorate in this year's November 26 election, but there has been speculation the arrangement would be extended.

There are reports parties are working on a deal in which ACT would not stand candidates in other marginal seats, including Waimakariri and New Plymouth.

Dr Brash this morning denied there was a formal deal between the parties, and said National not fighting ACT for Epsom was old news.

"It was clear in 2005, when I was leader of the National Party, it was clear in 2008, when John Key was leader of the National Party ... it's clearly in the National Party's interest to have ACT hang on to the Epsom electorate," he told NZPA.

Dr Brash said he had not discussed other electorates in detail with Prime Minister John Key, but agreed there was stronger coordination between the two camps.

"An extension of what has always been, I think that's a fair characterisation of it," he said.

"Clearly we would much prefer to be an a coalition kind of deal with the National Party than with any other party and we want to see the ACT vote grow. If people won't vote for ACT we want them to vote for National and, to that extent, we're working together."

Asked specifically about the Waimakariri and New Plymouth seats, Dr Brash said he did not want to go into individual detail about electorates.

"We haven't got all the candidates selected yet, but certainly we're hopng to have candidates in the vast majority of electorates throughout the country."

Meanwhile, Labour front-bencher David Parker has thrown his hat in the Epsom ring, confirming he is seeking his party's nomination to run in the electorate.

If elected as the candidate, the Dunedin-based MP would face ACT candidate John Banks and National's Paul Goldsmith.




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