11 Jul 2011

PM brushes off former ACT ad man's criticism

10:23 pm on 11 July 2011

Prime Minister John Key says his National Party will continue to work with ACT despite the criticism levelled by the party's former creative director.

John Ansell resigned from the job with ACT after his new advertising campaign accusing National of pandering to Maori radicals was toned down.

Mr Ansell has called the National-led Government cowards, saying they are scared to stand up for their country when it is being taken away by a bunch of Maori aristocrats.

He has also criticised Prime Minister John Key, who he says is lily-livered and an incompetent economic manager.

Mr Key says those comments aren't worthy of a response, but are no surprise coming from Mr Ansell.

"John Ansell has always had extreme views, there's nothing new there, and as we can see, even he can't work with ACT."

Mr Key says National will continue to work with ACT though it doesn't share all the party's views.

"We don't share all the views the Maori Party has either and we have certainly proved in the last three years that we can work with them as well."

John Key says ACT's newspaper advertisement which claims National is appeasing the Maori Party, is factually incorrect.

Labour Party MP Shane Jones says the Prime Minister's response is disappointing, as ACT's continual efforts to drum up anti-Maori feeling are divisive and deserve stronger condemnation.

Mr Jones believes ACT's comments also denigrate the Maori Party and is surprised Mr Key is not defending National's coalition partner more forcefully.