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March 22, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Act attacked for not attacking

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Rodney considers buying new yellow jacket to boost team spirits

ACT MPs Sir Roger Douglas and Heather Roy have attacked the party’s current direction at the party’s national conference.

Douglas says the party is “at serious risk” of becoming irrelevant if they do not actively pursue policy outside of the National Party’s agenda.

Concerns were raised over a number of issues, most significantly the inability to push through radical economic reforms.

ACT on Campus National President Rick Giles believed Douglas’ concerns were well founded.

“Sir Roger’s right that our pursuit of radical economic reform has been set back. Just look at how effectively Don Brash’s 2025 recommendations were fobbed off. Yet that was a condition of ACT’s support.

“The reforms mean so much for New Zealand but I think we fail to realise them because we are poor salesmen and pitching to the wrong crowds.”

In the face of these attacks, ACT leader Rodney Hide has defended the party’s coalition with National, arguing ACT had lifted “the sights of the government, and the country.

“Against all predictions, against all odds, we have thrived.”

Despite the long-standing disagreement between Douglas and Hide, Douglas has been quick to point out his comments were not a criticism of the party leader.

“I don’t think it’s an attack on Rodney at all. I just believe that any party need to look at itself from time to time.”

Former ACT deputy leader Dr Muriel Newman has alleged that the relationship has damaged race relations in New Zealand, “almost more than anyone else has ever done.”

Newman said, “We are increasingly seeing [National] promoting Maori privilege.”

She insisted the ACT Party make their party line “one law for all”.

Hide has assured the party that he would keep a close eye on the government and Maori Party’s social security policies.

In a recent interview with Radio New Zealand, political commentator Matthew Hooten said that ACT’s best approach would be to leave the coalition, speculating the party would have no problem gaining more than 5 per cent if they pursued a policy agenda to the right of National.

ACT on Campus National Vice-President Peter McCaffrey says that the ACT Party could pursue “better policies than National, but we don’t need to end the confidence and supply agreement to do so”.

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