We'll stick with ACT: Key

BY ESTHER HARWARD
Last updated 09:49 14/03/2009
MICHAEL BRADLEY/Sunday Star-Times
ACTING UP: Prime Minsiter John Key and ACT Party leader Rodney Hide at the ACT Party Conference in Auckland.

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Prime Minister John Key says National will not fall out with ACT despite a blistering attack on the Government's handling of the economic downturn by ACT MP Roger Douglas.

Speaking at the ACT conference this morning in Auckland, Key said the parties would keep seeking common ground on issues they agree on like cutting red tape.

ACT leader Rodney Hide will today push Key on that by calling for the Government to scrap the Code of Practice for handling Section 92a of the Copyright Act - which forces internet service providers to act on allegations from copyright owners and shut down accounts.

Last night, Douglas told Act supporters that National's "rolling maul of initiatives'' would delay the correction needed to end the recession.

He criticised the government's proposed nine-day fortnight and national cycleway, and called for radical free market reforms including scrapping the Employment Court.

"There seems to be this idea that if finance companies collapse, or Fisher and Paykel downsizes, it is somehow the failure of the free market. The reality is the complete opposite. The capacity of the free market to reveal failure is one of its greatest assets," he said.

Asked if he agreed with Douglas's view that the Government should leave job losses alone, Key said: "We have always said that we prefer commercial solutions to our problems."

He said reviews of legislation that inhibited economic growth and job creation would be announced soon starting with a review of the Overseas Investment Act early next week.

This was to create an overseas investment screening regime to "encourage investment into New Zealand, while protecting sensitive land, assets and resources".

Key acknowledged ACT wanted faster progress on closing the income gap with Australia, it wanted to scrap the emissions trading scheme, have a flatter tax scale, and axe whole government bodies including the Families and Charities Commissions, Economic Development Ministry, Youth Development Ministries and Women's Affairs Ministry.

He said National was giving ACT's "Three Strikes" proposal a fair hearing before a Select Committee.

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