You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
ACT has launched its election campaign with leader Rodney Hide saying only his party can put some backbone into a National-led government.
Act's launch at the Alexandra Park Raceway in Auckland started a day of launches which also sees Labour, National and United Future begin their official campaigns.
Mr Hide told about 400 supporters Labour had squandered good economic times and had done little to deliver policies that would carry New Zealand through the current world economic crisis.
National, on the other hand, was so busy trying to steal votes off Labour it had mimicked most of its policies.
ACT was needed to force any change, he said.
"This election I am asking you to ensure the next National government makes a difference.
"It's that simple. A party vote for ACT will ensure John Key makes a difference."
Mr Key went on to spell out ACT's core policies.
Its economic prescription was exactly the kind of medicine New Zealand needed in the face of the global market crisis.
"There are small businesses now going to the wall because they are being squeezed paying for an ever-fattening government.
"Families are struggling to make ends meet with taxes, rates and other charges," he said.
"The way to facilitate the necessary transition is to cap government expenditure in real terms, free up the labour market and radically reform the Resource Management Act."
Other economic policies included immediately cutting the top tax rate and dumping the emissions trading scheme.
Mr Hide also spelt out ACT's tough anti-crime policies including the abolition of parole and a three-strikes policy, which would give a sentence of 25-years to life to anyone convicted three times of a violent offence.
He said there should also be better legal protections for people who defended themselves or their property.
He cited the case of Auckland dairy owner Virender Singh who has been charged over an altercation in which he defended himself from youths allegedly looking to rob his shop.
ACT would also turn the clock back on "nanny state" initiatives supported by Labour such as the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs and Green MP Sue Bradford's anti-smacking legislation. - NZPA