21 Nov 2011

Brash 'confident' leadership not under threat

7:39 pm on 21 November 2011

ACT Party leader Don Brash is confident his leadership of the party is not under threat.

It has been suggested that the future of ACT was discussed when its Epsom candidate, John Banks, and National leader John Key met for their cup of tea on 11 November.

The conversation between Mr Key and Mr Banks was recorded by a freelance cameraman, but the details have not been released.

The publicised meeting was widely viewed as a signal to National supporters that they should vote for Mr Banks in the Epsom electorate.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters claims that John Banks called ACT leader Don Brash a strange fellow and that Mr Key suggested Catherine Isaac, who is No 2 on ACT's list, be the party leader.

In an interview on Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme on Monday, Dr Brash said Ms Isaac is a first-class person and a potential leader.

However, Dr Brash says he has no plans to step aside after the election and there is no serious challenge to his leadership.

"I've discussed this with all the potential candidates who might be leaders, and there's not threat to my leadership. I'm confident that I'll be leader long after Phil Goff is leader of the Labour Party.

"Will I be leader of the ACT Party in 20 years' time - almost certainly not. I don't plan to be."

As for supposedly being called a strange fellow, Dr Brash isn't too worried.

"I've been called a lot worse than that, I have to say, and there are people around who say look anyone who gives up being governor of the Reserve Bank to go into Parliament has got to be a bit strange - and I think I've got some sympathy for that view."

Dr Brash says he has a good relationship with John Key and they have had cordial meetings since he took over as ACT leader earlier this year.