29 Sep 2014

UF, ACT sign up to support National

6:16 pm on 29 September 2014

United Future Party and ACT Party have agreed to support a National-led Government for a third consecutive term.

Under deals announced today, United Future's leader and only MP Peter Dunne will be appointed Minister of Internal Affairs, Associate Minister of Health and Associate Minister of Conservation, while sole ACT MP David Seymour will be under-secretary to the Minister of Education and the Minister for Regulatory Reform.

Mr Dunne will be a minister outside Cabinet, as he has been in the previous two National-led governments.

He acknowledged his party had little leverage in the deal, because of National's majority under the provisional results.

"The agreement is a little different from the previous two given the circumstances of the outcome of the last election," Mr Dunne said.

"This is one that relies much more on good faith and the established working relationship of the last six years."

National has also agreed to work with United Future on a number of the minor party's policy priorities.

These include enhancing the role of pharmacists in managing patients' medicines and primary care; improving water quality in the country's lakes, rivers and streams; giving recreational fishers more opportunities; and re-affirming the use of public private partnerships for major road projects where appropriate.

Prime Minister John Key said he was pleased National had again reached an agreement with United Future.

"We have had a constructive working relationship with United Future over the past six years that has provided strong and stable government, and I welcome this new agreement.

"The agreement gives the new National-led Government confidence and supply support throughout this term."

Meanwhile, it was likely Mr Seymour, who will also be a member of Parliament's finance and expenditure select committee and sit on the cabinet appointments and honours committee, would be a minister by the end of the term, Mr Key said.

"I think that's highly likely but there's no formal agreement, there's no backroom deal that says he'll definitely become a minister at this certain," he said.

"But I would have thought as he assumes his responsibilities, gets used to the working of Parliament and feels that that's the next step that they want to take, then it would be relatively easy to convert that over."

ACT and National had agreed to work together to expand the trial of partnership schools, cut regulations and reform the Resource Management Act to make it easier for development, Mr Key said.

Mr Seymour defended his appointment, saying he had come to Parliament to progress his party's policies.

"Well the proof will be in the pudding. It will be in the work that we do to improve partnership skills and also regulation," he said.

"Partnership skills, in particular, I believe are a policy that addresses one of New Zealand's most urgent concerns, and that is inequality and poverty which, at root, is an inequality and poverty of skills."

Mr Key said negotiations with the Maori Party were taking a bit longer as that party went through its own processes in agreeing to a deal.