ACT party set sights on 2014 election

Last updated 15:12 21/04/2012

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 ACT leader John Banks has pledged to lead an ''electable'' party into the 2014 polls.
The party's Epsom MP today warned supporters that ''New Zealand has taken a major turn to the left.''
Around 80 people - including former leader Don Brash and ex-MP John Boscawen - gathered at a Parnell convention centre today for ACTs annual conference and AGM.
The party is struggling to regroup after the election left it with only one MP and a one per cent share of the party vote. In the final days of the campaign, Epsom voters swung in his favour when he was backed by Prime Minister John Key in a 'cup of tea' meeting.
In his keynote speech, Banks said that MMP is here to stay and that all future governments will be coalitions. He vowed to put the ''re-enforcing steel'' into the centre right.
''The people of New Zealand have elected a parliament in the majority that is to the left of what our Australian cousins called socialists...without ACT we are staring in the face of two decades of Labour, the Greens and [NZ First leader] Winston [Peters].''
But he said ''all is not lost'' and his ''caucus of one'' is making a difference in Parliament.
In a rallying call he said the party is now two decades old and can ''come right through this period with our pioneering spirit reborn.''
He added: ''For the sake of our future we must lead this party back to Parliament with a good muster of MPs as a rejuvenated political influence.''
Guest speakers include former leader Richard Prebble and 42 Below co-founder Justine Troy.
Former president Catherine Isaac is also due to update the party on a trial of charter schools, which she is leading.
The pilot was won under a confidence and supply deal with National along with a review of the Resource Management Act and legislation to cap future government expenditure.
Prebble called it ''the best deal we have yet.''
Anti-assets sales protester Penny Bright staged a demonstration outside the convention venue. 

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- The Dominion Post


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