Banks, Dunne strike a deal with National

JOHN HARTEVELT, ANDREA VANCE AND DANYA LEVY
Last updated 15:30 05/12/2011
banks and key
NUMBERS IN: John Banks and John Key.
Peter Dunne John Key
TALKING TIME: Peter Dunne and John Key meet after the 2011 election.

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National has reached agreements with United Future's Peter Dunne and ACT's John Banks, as it moves toward forming a government.

Banks has won two ministerial roles and two associate ministerial posts as part of a confidence and supply agreement with National. He will be Minister of Regulatory Reform and Minister of Small Business. He is also Associate Minister of Education and Associate Minister of Commerce.

Banks will be a minister outside of Cabinet but gets a spot on three Cabinet committees - expenditure control, economic growth and infrastructure and appointments and honours.

Dunne will hold on to his revenue portfolio and has won a newly created Associate Minister of Conservation post, under a deal with National.

Dunne  - a strong 1080 opponent - will also keep his Associate Minister of Health post. He will be a minister outside cabinet, which means he is not bound by collective responsibility.

The regulatory reform bill, previously advanced by former ACT leader Rodney Hide but still yet to pass, was set to be enacted within a year.

Legislation would also be set down to cap Government spending. A new bill would be passed within two years that limited expenditure growth to the annual increase in the rate of population growth multiplied by the rate of inflation.

The deal also set down change to the Resource Management Act where there was "a need to reduce the clutter of planning documents".

In education, the parties agreed to set up "school charters" in areas where "underachievement is most entrenched". A series of charters would be allocated in areas such as South Auckland and Christchurch.

There was also agreement on measures in welfare and ACC reform.

"The agreement has a strong focus on the economy, including a concentration on fiscal discipline, and reducing the costs to business," Key said.

Dunne has agreed to support the policies outlined by National in its post election plan, including the partial sale of state-owned assets, a revamp of ACC and welfare reform.

In return, National has agreed to begin public consultation on Dunne's Flexi-Super policy and guarantee access to rivers, lakes, forests and coastline.

Dunne, who was the architect of the Families Commission, has secured its future, although the number of commissioners will be reduced from four to one.

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Key said that would make the single commissioner a stronger voice for families and free up $4 million over four years to be put into parenting programmes and relationship services.

National has also agreed to reintroduce Dunne's income sharing legislation which failed to win enough support in the last Parliament.

Key acknowledged the $500 million price tag made the policy difficult in its current form but said changes would be considered.

Dunne said the estimated cost was based on everyone eligible taking up the offer, which would never be the case.

Free health-checks for over 65-year-olds would also be investigated under the deal.

The two votes would give National the numbers to govern, giving it a 62 vote margin in the 121-seat Parliament.

However, National could lose up to two votes when special votes are counted by Saturday, although it is more likely it will lose only one.

Key said he was pleased his party could negotiate constructively with Dunne.

"In addition, National has agreed to support a range of principles, policies and priorities that have been put forward by United Future ... I look forward to continuing the constructive relationship we built with Mr Dunne in the previous term," said Key.

Key would wait until specials are counted or the Maori Party decides whether it would enter into an arrangement with National, which would give it a further buffer of three votes, before he goes to Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae to announce he can form a government.

The deal also guarantees there will be no sale of Kiwibank or Radio New Zealand.

Both have been the subject of speculation although Key ruled out selling Kiwibank this term during the election campaign.

The budgets of both Radio New Zealand and Television New Zealand would also be maintained.

Under the Dunne's agreement legislation to ban guided helicopter hunting on conservation land would also be introduced to Parliament.

Statutory limits would be introduced on the sale of public assets to no more than 49 per cent of shareholding to private interests and limits would be put on the extent of single entity ownership.

Key said although he had personally guaranteed both measures, legislation would allay public anxiety about the partial sale of state-owned assets.

Dunne said he did not believe he had got more concessions proportionally from National for his one vote.

"That's in the eye of the beholder."

Key said it was a reflection of how well the two parties worked during the last Parliamentary term.

- Fairfax NZ

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