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National And ACT's Victory For Democracy

Posted on 16 Nov 2008

National-ACT Confidence & Supply Agreement announcement; Parliament, Wellington; Sunday, November 16 2008

I see National and ACT's Confidence and Supply Agreement as a victory for democracy.
A week ago New Zealand voted for a Centre-Right government and today, with this historic agreement, we have one.

Agreement was achieved at an unbelievably quick pace. Tremendous ground was covered as a result - and only because - of the tremendous spirit of good faith and trust built up between my self and John Key during his time as Leader of the Opposition, and throughout the past week when he gained enormous respect from me with his openness and willingness to see the other's point of view.

All our discussions this week indicate we have the basis for a long-lasting and fruitful relationship based on that mutual respect.

This isn't an agreement cobbled together out of self-interest, but one developed through our shared vision to create a better and brighter future for New Zealand.

John Key and I have set the big goal of New Zealand closing the income gap with Australia by 2025. We aim to catch and match Australia. That's a stretch. It's what we need to do to bring our kids home.

We share the view of the need to make New Zealand safer. That's why ACT's 'Three strikes and You're Out' Law & Order policy for violent offenders will have National's support to a Select Committee. We look forward to New Zealanders getting behind this measure that will save lives.

On Climate Change we will review New Zealand's response with agreed draft terms of reference. The implementation of the Emissions Trading Scheme will be delayed until the review is completed, and the thermal generation ban will be repealed.

On spending, we will establish a series of task forces to undertake a fundamental review of base government spending in identified sectors. Capping core government spending will receive Select Committee consideration.

We have set a medium-term goal of setting the top rate of tax at 30 percent. In doing so, we have made the clear statement that New Zealand now has a government that will reward and celebrate success - not punish it.

National and ACT are committed to combating the red tape that's tying New Zealanders in knots, with John Key appointing me Minister of Regulatory Reform. We will establish a task force to carry forward work on the Regulatory Responsibility Bill, and we will explore the concept of a New Zealand Productivity Commission.

We have also agreed to take a long hard look at the Resource Management Act. Enough said: you'll find the details in our agreement.

On Education, school choice is on the new government's agenda.

I have mentioned but a few of the extraordinary joint initiatives that flow from our agreement today - initiatives that, I must stress, have only come to fruition through the good faith in which these discussions have taken place.

Last Saturday night I repeated to our next Prime Minister John Key my pre-election assurance of Confidence and Supply. Many commentators expressed the view that ACT had given away its bargaining power. Far from it.

We have found National to be respectful of our commitment to stable government. That has allowed us to produce and sign a document that I believe will allow John Key to lead a team - to which ACT will contribute - that will provide a clear direction for New Zealand through the challenging times ahead with a consistent and constant focus on the need to build the safer and more prosperous country that we all so desperately yearn for.

Thank you.


Sorry folks, I've read

Sorry folks, I've read through this piece and unlike Rodney, I can't see any " good faith " on the part of John Key. Indeed I fail to see any gains we are supposed to have made, only a few fields where Act and National policy coincide. It is to the credit of the Maori Party that members were consulted before they gave their answer. I am very disappointed and suspect that if our members had been polled in a similar way, this deal would have been rejected. National has taken advantage of our being a centre-right party and thus nowhere else to go unless we had chosen to sit on the cross benches. If one asks " In what field did we alter National's policy? " the answer must be none. We are already being portrayed in the media as John Key's lapdog and I didn't campaign to get us that role.

With a party vote of only

With a party vote of only 3.7% ACTdoes not have the mandate to expect any significant influence in decision making. ACTs 3.7%, the Maori parties 2.4% or United Fitures 0.9% would not usually make the threshold to enter parliment, ironically the only smaller party with this mandate is the Greens. Any higher aspiration is grandious.

I too think the agreement is

I too think the agreement is disappointing! Not one cabinet position, let alone a senior position, like Deputy PM, Treasurer, or Minister of Finance, etc. As king maker, I'm sure Winston Peters would have demanded one or two top jobs for himself and got what he wanted.

And the only policy concessions seem to be concessions to allow certain policy reviews. Better than nothing, but just like the unexciting portfolios ACT has agreed to, it's all as if the deal with the Maori Party resulted in ACT considering itself in a weak negotiating position.

The ACT leadership doesn't seem to have considered that ACT sitting on the cross benches with or without confidence and supply would have been intolerable to National. Such would have signalled Key's inability to strengthen its natural and key coalition partner in the same way it has done with the Maori Party.

Based on the numbers, National looked like a one-term government on election night – unless it could find a way to strengthen the number of seats coalition parties would receive. And the way to do that is through them punching above their weight in both power and policy.

As it stands, ACT will be lucky to maintain its current level of support, and the likely/natural swing against the government at the next election will mean that either the numbers just won't be there, or that the Maori Party will be the king maker.

National continues to have an unrealistic understanding of MMP, where strengthening its friends can yield much more than National at full strength can muster.

The Maori Party on the other hand have done relatively well. They received associate ministerial portfolios in essentially every area of concern for them, which is as it should be. And I always hoped Sharples would get the Maori Affairs portfolio, although I think it an important enough portfolio to be inside cabinet.

The Maori Party also maintained the ability to dissent outside of their portfolio areas, whereas it seems ACT has signed up to support National's election manifesto, which I suspect gives little wiggle room for significant dissent.

ACT needed to wield its muscle, which despite the agreement with the Maori Party, remained way above its numbers until it signed an agreement. National could not have tolerated ACT sitting on the cross benches.

It's pretty basic stuff akin to negotiating one's remuneration package when seeking a new job. Far easier to get what you want from the outset than hope to get it at the next salary review. Once you're locked it, you're negotiating position is dramatically weakened.

Mr Hide, while I greatly respect you and your hard work, I am now greatly disappointed in you and what you have delivered. National has gained a real asset in ACT, but sadly, ACT has not gained a real asset in National.



As to John Key, he was going

As to John Key, he was going to eliminate the Maori seats after Treaty claims had been settled in 2012 and now after the elections he has got into bed with them and is leaving it up to them to decide when. It is so annoying that government created racial preference should continue forever. Rodney, what the heck do you say to that because you must have signed up to it as well?.

Date correction 2014 not

Date correction 2014 not 2012

I am in agreement with Mr.

I am in agreement with Mr. Eric Groves. Having parliamentary seats based on racial ethnicity is totally unfair and contravenes the basic values of Human Rights. The need for separate racial representation has long since passed. The perception that Maori need representation more than any other ethnic group presumes that Maori are less able than other groups to manage and compete in society. I believe Maori as a whole is every bit as able to do as well as any other . The fundamental reason Maori have not progressed more quickly, is that successive generations have lived under a separatist system, which has instilled in the individual, the concept that Maori need more assistance than the average Kiwi. This belief becomes entrenched in the subconscious and suppresses initiave and ambition. Thus with the added self interest of Politicians and bureaucrats wanting to preserve their jobs and positions by maintaining the status quo, a monumental disservice is being done to Maori. A child will not learn to walk if it is carried all the time. Abolishing Maori seats acknowledges that we as a Nation, are all one, and equal, and Maori can proudly regard themselves able to do as well or better in a competitive society as any other ethnic group.

Well done Act! The wording

Well done Act! The wording of your agreement with National provides a good foundation to build significant gains that distinguish yourselves from your government partner. It will be interesting to see how you use the Regulatory Reform Ministry. The hardcore of your party will be pleasantly surprised once they see what you've written between the lines!

Good job Rodney and team.

Good job Rodney and team.

To the detractors above (one who suggests ACT should have acted like Winston Peters - are you seriously an ACT supporter?) ACT got 3.7% of the party vote. Behaving like ACT got a whole lot more than that is not going to endear ACT to those who voted for other parties.

This agreement is not the end-goal. This is like having a wedding ceremony and getting married - that in itself is not the aim, it's just the beginning. What ACT will be judged upon come the next election is what they have acheived on the basis of this beginning.

The things that were

The things that were important to me, and why I want ACT to be there, are in this agreement. It is a winner for ACT. I believe it is unrealistic to expect National blindly support a policy to becoming law through all the stages. Select committees with good thinkers will only improve the laws that are finally produced.

NZ needs to move away from Clark's confrontational style. Might make a 'strong PM' but I would prefer better laws and better govt. ACT can't expect to have it all its way, but if what is in this agreement is delivered it will be a great term for ACT. The minor parties in Ireland and Germany did not achieve what they achieved by taking on everything and trying to do everything. They concentrated on the most important and delivered on them

I have great faith in Rodney

I have great faith in Rodney and believe he and his party will work smartly for a better New Zealand. Together, we are working for a bright future and it is starting right now!

Was I to harsh and negative?

Was I to harsh and negative? I still wish we'd got some different ministeries, but after a night's sleep, prehaps we can do something useful with the hand voters and John Key have dealt us. As a member of a Community Board, I await Rodney's local government plans with interest. For those with no experience of local government either as an employee or an elected representitive, I can assure you change in the form of both simplification and modification are long overdue. Heather too has an interesting time ahead according to my wife, although I have no personal experience of her ministry. My wish now is that both new ministers are a great success so that in 2011, many more decide to give Act their party vote and that we get at least one more M.P.

My God, what do people

My God, what do people expect after one week? Water turned into wine? Parting of the seas? We are in this for the next 3 years people. If a week is a long time in politics then 3 years is an eternity. Give Rodney, Heather and the team a break. I am surprised they got as much as they did in a week. We got policy considerations and some traction on our key messages from the campaign. That beats the baubles and bulls**t of Winston Peters any day.

Bloody well done everyone in the face of real adversity.

Now let's get on with it.....

Well Done to Rodney and his

Well Done to Rodney and his Team and to the Act NZ Board for their unconditional endorsement. This agreement which is equally as historical as the agreement with the Maori Party provides all ACT loyalists and supporters with an evidential springboard for 2011. Let all of us Volunteers just not sit back and become complacent with the achievements of the last 7 days and the weeks preceeding Election 08 but now go forth and become campaigners in our own right to increase our membership, market the virtues of our policies, and aspire to make ACT a indefeasible political force from Cape Reinga to Bluff. The ACT Parlimentary Team need us as much as we need them. The Volunteers committment over the next three years will cement ACT as a political party that we will all be proud of. Who says we cannot have 10 MP's in 2011. Lets make that our challenge.

How's Roger feeling about

How's Roger feeling about not getting anything?

Good on your Lida Lida

Good on your


Yes Reb, I feel very sorry

Yes Reb, I feel very sorry for Roger. He must feel somewhat like Moses, taking people to ther Promised Land, but not allowed to enter himself. Whatever the future may hold for Act, we need to remember that but for Roger Douglas, there would be no Act. Prehaps he can derive consolation from the fact that many of his reforms are still in place and yet more will come within the next 3 years. I hope it inspires others to complete the Unfinished Business which Roger was not allowed to complete by the 4th. Labour Government. But Reb, don't forget that Roger is back in Parliament and when last I spoke to him, he had no plans to hibernate for the next 3 years.

Roger will have the place

Roger will have the place where he will be most valued from my reading of the agreement. There are task forces going to be established, especially for how NZ to catch up with Aust by 2025. Roger will not be in the limelight but will be where he will be very effective.

I thinkyou will find that it

I thinkyou will find that it will be very hard to alter public perception of Roger Douglas. Labourhas done a very good job of convincing people over the last 20 years that it was rogernomics and not Langes "TAX AND SPEND" that nearly destroyed our economy. The sad thing is dude to this the public is ignorant to what huge txation and huge spending could mean. I think the best thing for Roger is to introduce his policies through other people who do not have the same stigma in the eys of the public,

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I hope it inspires others to complete the Unfinished Business which Roger was not allowed to complete by the 4th. Labour Government. But Reb, don't forget that Roger is back in Parliament and when last I spoke to him, he had no plans to hibernate for the next 3 years.
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I hope it inspires others to

I hope it inspires others to complete the Unfinished Business which Roger was not allowed to complete by the 4th. Labour Government. But Reb, don't forget that Roger is back in Parliament and when last I spoke to him, he had no plans to hibernate for the next 3 years.

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