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`Choppy Times Ahead Says Hide After 4km Ocean Swim

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Rodney Hide
Rodney Hide

Auckland, Nov 9 NZPA - The ACT Party says it is more interested in providing New Zealand with a secure and stable government, than making policy demands during coalition negotiations with the National Party.

Party leader Rodney Hide will meet with National Party leader John Key in Wellington tomorrow to begin talks following a meeting of ACT Party board members.

Mr Key called Mr Hide last night, asking him to help form a National-led government, along with United Future's sole MP Peter Dunne.

The phonecall came as Mr Hide was surrounded by jubilant supporters at the Orakei RSA in Auckland, celebrating ACT holding the Epsom seat.

Mr Hide and fellow ACT MP Heather Roy will return to parliament with three new colleagues including Sir Roger Douglas, former finance minister in the David Lange Labour government.

Mr Hide said he had no expectations as to what role ACT would play in the formation of the next government.

Emerging from a 4km swim at Auckland's Takapuna beach this morning, Mr Hide told media there was nothing like a dip in the sea to freshen himself up after a campaign.

Despite not getting to bed until after 2.30am Mr Hide kept his promise to promote next week's ocean swim series, arriving at 8am to don his wetsuit.

"It was a bit choppy out there and I was thinking it was a bit like the economic conditions New Zealand is facing."

ACT had campaigned on three key issues -- law and order, government accountability and the emissions trading scheme, he said.

"But the number one thing is to form a stable and secure government and to give the country some certainty and sense of direction," he said.

ACT had never campaigned on any bottomline policies but he was confident Mr Key would give the party a fair hearing during negotiations, he said.

Mr Hide dismissed a suggestion critics would pounce on any cabinet role he might assume, in the wake of his high profile role as a "perkbusting" MP.

Mr Hide said there was no comparison between him and NZ First leader Winston Peters, who at the last election famously declared he was not interested in the baubles of office, only to enjoy them when he was made Foreign Minister.

"We've cleaned things up considerably but providing stability, that's all we're interested in."

The completion of the swim was in stark contrast to how he had spent the day after the 2005 election, he said.

"It was a very different day -- I couldn't have swum a stroke."

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