Election 2014

9 Nov 2011

Banks says Epsom will vote strategically

6:17 am on 9 November 2011

The ACT Party's candidate for Epsom, John Banks, says people in the constituency will vote strategically, and while an endorsement from the National Party leader would be useful, he's not asking for anything.

National and ACT have been defending their deal in the Auckland electorate following fresh criticism from within ACT's ranks.

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National is campaigning primarily for the party vote to give Mr Banks a better chance of winning and, in return, ACT is not standing a candidate in the marginal seat of New Plymouth.

Two senior members of ACT's New Plymouth branch have said National should be doing more to help the party.

Mr Banks told Checkpoint that voters know his National opponent is going to be in Parliament anyway, so a vote for him is a vote for two MPs in the electorate and a John Key-led coalition.

Asked whether he wanted a more specific endorsement from the National Party leader, he said he would "welcome a cup of tea with John Key any day of the week as any New Zealander would."

"Of course I'd like an endorsement from John Key, it would be very useful, but having said that I'm not asking for anything." Mr Banks said evidence indicated electors will vote strategically.

The polls show Mr Banks trailing National's candidate, Paul Goldsmith, even though National is campaigning only for the party vote.

However Mr Banks said ACT is doing its own independent polling that shows the two candidates are very close.

Mr Goldsmith declined to comment to the programme.