13 Jan 2014

National 'can work' with many parties

5:50 pm on 13 January 2014

National says it can work with a range of parties as potential coalition partners, the ACT Party among them.

ACT New Zealand is polling at 1% or less in public opinion surveys; well short of the 5% of the party vote it needs to enter Parliament after this year's election.

Steven Joyce.

Steven Joyce. Photo: RNZ

Its new leader and a candidate for the seat of Epsom will be introduced at its annual conference in March.

National's campaign chair Steven Joyce says Prime Minister John Key will reveal the party's coalition partner options early this year.

While ACT has had its challenges, Mr Joyce says it is doing its best to re-organise and National can work with a range of parties, and not one in particular.

Meanwhile, political lecturer Bryce Edwards of Otago University says the future of the ACT hangs in the balance and the only way the party can survive is by retaining the seat of Epsom.

Dr Edwards said ACT must now come up with a candidate that both National and the electorate are happy with.

Hooton not standing

Political commentator Matthew Hooton has ruled out standing for the ACT party in Epsom at this year's general election.

Mr Hooton had been named as a possible nominee for ACT in the Auckland electorate and new party leader.

Current leader and Epsom MP John Banks is standing down at the election as he is facing a charge of filing a false electoral return in relation to his failed bid for the Auckland mayoralty in 2010.

Mr Hooton has written in the National Business Review that he would not be seeking the ACT nomination. He said he is of the right generation to take ACT forward, but the party needs someone with history in its policies - not a ring-in from the National Party like himself.

Mr Hooton said Jamie Whyte would be an ideal party leader, while David Seymour should stand in Epsom.