ACT to stick to its guns on election promises

Last updated 00:27 10/11/2008

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The ACT party will be pushing its "three strikes" sentencing policy, a cut to government spending and dumping the emissions trading scheme in its coalition talks with National leader John Key.

Saturday's vote left the party in a strong position, with 3.7 per cent of the party vote bolstering its MPs from two to five.

Party leader Rodney Hide also romped home in his Epsom electorate with nearly 12,000 more votes than National's Richard Worth. Prime minister-elect John Key's Parnell home is in Epsom, making Mr Hide his electorate MP.

But Mr Key had more than Epsom issues on his mind when he called Mr Hide on Saturday night, asking him to help form a government. The pair will meet today in Wellington to begin.

Yesterday, Mr Hide hit Auckland's Takapuna beach at 8am for a 4km swim. "It was a bit choppy out there and I was thinking it was a bit like the economic conditions New Zealand is facing," he told media.

He said his main aim was to have a secure, stable government and that he had no expectations about what role ACT would play in government.

But the party had campaigned on its "three strikes" law and order policy, cutting government spending and dumping the emissions trading scheme. "We'll have to achieve a lot on those policies, otherwise our voters, why would they vote ACT? We're very conscious of what we campaigned on and what we promised."

Mr Hide is expected to ask for portfolios in local government and regulatory reform.

The wildcard remains what role will be played by former Labour finance minister and new ACT MP Sir Roger Douglas. Mr Key again ruled out any ministerial role for Sir Roger yesterday.

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- The Dominion Post

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