3 Dec 2011

Support agreements with National taking shape

12:45 pm on 3 December 2011

Support agreements between the National Party, ACT and United Future are starting to take form and both minor parties are confident they are working toward meaningful concessions.

National held a second round of post-election talks on Thursday afternoon at the Beehive in Wellington. The party won 60 seats in the election and needs at least one more vote to govern and pass legislation it campaigned on.


ACT's numbers have been slashed from five MPs to one, with the win by John Banks in Epsom. Regardless, he is in line for a ministerial post, but that is likely to be outside the Cabinet.

After an hour-long meeting with National leader John Key on Thursday, Mr Banks was asked what portfolio areas he would be interested in.

"A ministerial platform around investment, growth, jobs and success for the tradeable sector," he replied.

Mr Banks says ACT wants to make sure Mr Key has a stable government and believes having only one MP in Parliament has not disadvantaged the party in its negotiations.

He told reporters there will be some surprise policy gains for ACT in its support deal with National.

"I think you're going to be very surprised at the policy gains we've been able to negotiate.

"It's not at all about me - it's about the legacy of trust and goodwill between the Prime Minister and the ACT Party and, in particular, (former parliamentary leader) John Boscawen over the last three years."

Mr Banks says the question over ACT's leadership, which has arisen because Don Brash stepped down earlier this week, has not yet been resolved.


United Future leader Peter Dunne told reporters the deal he hopes to strike with National will look quite different from the one agreed at the election in 2008.

Mr Dunne says Thursday's meeting with Mr Key was constructive and the final details are being ironed out.

"There's no great difficulty here - it's just getting the right wording and getting the right detail sorted out."

The Maori Party is also continuing its negotiations with National and will go back and consult with its supporters before signing any deal.

Mr Dunne is not putting a timeframe on his negotiations, but Mr Banks hopes to have a deal nailed down by the end of this weekend.

A spokesperson for Mr Key says there is not a particular timeline for settling support arrangements, but meetings are continuing.