29 Apr 2011

PM not ruling out Don Brash as minister

12:16 pm on 29 April 2011

Prime Minister John Key is not ruling out the possibility of incoming ACT leader Don Brash becoming a minister in a National-led government after the November election.

Rodney Hide on Thursday relinquished the leadership of the party saying Don Brash would do a better job in the run-up to the election.

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Dr Brash will be officially installed as the new leader of the ACT Party this weekend.

Mr Key says decisions about who might become a minister will be made if National remains in Government.

He says it is highly unlikely Dr Brash would get a finance role or become deputy Prime Minister but is not ruling out a ministerial warrant.

Dr Brash would not say specifically what portfolio he wanted but told Morning Report he wanted to make a strong contribution.

"What my objective is, is to achieve something in the economic policy area ... whether that's from a finance portfolio or from somewhere else is to be decided.

"If it seems appropriate, it may not be desirable for ACT to be within the Government itself - it may be better to sit on the cross benches and influence policy from there."

Maori Party president Pem Bird says the party's working relationship with ACT in the National-led government will carry on for now, but it will revisit the relationship after the 26 November election.

Political scientist Barry Gustafson from the University of Auckland says now that Dr Brash is not restrained by the broader National Party he may well present much more radical and right wing policies.

Business Round Table executive director, Roger Kerr, says he hopes if ACT does hold more power after this year's election it could encourage the Government to adopt what he calls stronger economic policies.