13 Nov 2011

Brash believes NZ First's rise in polls could help ACT

7:02 pm on 13 November 2011

New Zealand First's rise in the polls could help the ACT Party return to Parliament, leader Don Brash says.

Support for New Zealand First, which has spent the past three years out of Parliament, has climbed in four polls over the past week.

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ACT officially launched its campaign on Sunday, two weeks out from the election on 26 November.

Speaking after launch, Dr Brash told reports that New Zealand's First rise in polls could have a positive effect on how many people vote for ACT.

"Paradoxically, it might do because, clearly, the likelihood of National being able to form a single party government is now very much more in doubt. And I think to that extent, people can see the logic of voting for ACT."

Tea bags were handed out during the launch as a symbol of the very important cafe meeting that Epsom candidate John Banks had with National Party leader John Key on Friday.

The informal meeting at the Newmarket cafe has been widely seen as a signal to National supporters that they should give their electorate vote to Mr Banks.

ACT has been a coalition partner for National in the past, but is polling well below the 5% threshold needed to re-enter Parliament.

Winning Epsom at the election on 26 November is considered the party's best chance, and Dr Brash said on Sunday he is confident that Mr Banks will secure the seat.

During his speech at Auckland's Ellerslie Convention Centre to about 300 guests, the leader said closing the income gap between New Zealand and Australia should be a key issue this election.

Dr Brash says nearly 300,000 New Zealanders have left the country over the past decade because Australian incomes are nearly 40% higher.

He says there is a serious danger that it is reaching a point where so many New Zealanders have left that it has become a cumulative process.