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Hide Says Sorry For Comments

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Rodney Hide
Rodney Hide

Wellington, Nov 5 NZPA - ACT leader Rodney Hide has apologised for ripping into Prime Minister John Key's performance yesterday.

Mr Hide, who is a minister outside Cabinet, told a Christchurch breakfast meeting Mr Key "doesn't do anything" and was highly regarded, while "ACT did everything and we are hated".

Mr Hide said he was sorry.

"I have the highest respect for the Prime Minister, and I enjoy an excellent working relationship with him and his cabinet colleagues."

A spokesman for Mr Key said: "We accept the apology and that is the end of the matter".

At a $45 a head ACT fund-raising breakfast, a Press newspaper reporter heard Mr Hide tell guests that Mr Key received public acclaim while doing little.

All Mr Key had done was the cycleway, Mr Hide said. "It's amazing."

He was also amazed at how much he could get through Cabinet, because "you turn up with your papers" and "they are too busy with their own stuff they're not bothered".

Mr Hide also talked about how much progress he had made on the Auckland super-city plan, and he talked about getting rid of 700 bureaucrats and saving $66 million.

He apologised to Mr Key last night, after the journalist said he was writing a story, and the Prime Minister had laughed it off.

However Deputy Prime Minister Bill English came to his leader's defence this morning.

"I talk with and work with John Key every day and he is the hardest working minister in the Cabinet," Mr English told Radio New Zealand.

While he thought Mr Hide was also a good worker, as leader of a small party he was seeking attention.

"He makes a very useful contribution to the Cabinet and, if he's not aware of it, there's a lot of hard working ministers there really pushing their work through because I get to see it all as Minister of Finance."

Mr English said Mr Hide came to Cabinet once about every three weeks.

"The Cabinet is dealing with a much wider workload than just Rodney's work."

Mr Hide also apologised to ministers.

"I would like to apologise to the Prime Minister and my Cabinet colleagues for the comments... This was light-hearted banter at an ACT party function and taken out of context."

He said ACT did want faster and more change in several policy areas and that was no secret.

The National Party clearly had political support for its programme, he said.

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