20 Sep 2010

PM continues to back Hide as ACT leader

6:34 pm on 20 September 2010

The Prime Minister has reiterated his support for Rodney Hide as leader of the ACT Party in the wake of the scandal surrounding MP David Garrett.

Mr Garrett quit ACT last week, after revelations he stole a dead child's identity and fraudulently obtained a passport in 1984.

Mr Hide says it has been a tough time for ACT, but National should not worry about its stability.

Prime Minister John Key is continuing to back Mr Hide, telling Television New Zealand he has shown sound judgement as a minister in his executive and is a good political leader.

However, Mr Key acknowledges that ACT has issues it needs to address, which he says is hard when a party is focused on internal ructions.

Mr Garrett remains on leave from Parliament and has yet to decide whether or not he will return as an independent MP.

Mr Key says he does not think Mr Garrett will return, as the public has made it clear he has no mandate.

National will want ACT saga sorted quickly - Dunne

United Future leader Peter Dunne says the National Party will not want to be tainted by its association with ACT and will want the party to sort out its internal problems urgently.

Mr Dunne says it is a little too soon for National to pull the plug on ACT, but unless the party can sort itself out quickly, National will want to distance itself.

Mr Garrett's resignation from ACT reduces the party's votes in Parliament to four. Mr Hide says he has told Mr Garrett that ACT should continue to have five MPs.

Mr Hide says he spoke with Mr Garrett twice during the weekend, who assured him that he wanted to do the best for the party and the National-led Government.