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Brash targets senior government role

Published: 8:02AM Friday April 29, 2011 Source: ONE News

Having secured the leadership of the Act Party Don Brash now seems to be setting his sights on a senior role in the next government.

Brash, who will officially take over the leadership of Act once his position is ratified this weekend, told TV ONE's Breakfast he sees no reason why he could not take an important role in a National-led government.

"In 1996 Winston Peters negotiated with Jim Bolger and got the deputy leader role and treasurer," he said.

But when asked whether he wanted a treasurer role, he shied away from a giving a definitive answer.

"There are precedents for sharing the finance portfolio and what I'm saying is John Key and I had a good relationship when we were in caucus together."

Brash and Key entered parliament at the same time following the 2002 election, and Key was Brash's finance spokesman when he was leader of the opposition.

But the Prime Minister has said it is "highly unlikely" Brash would be offered the post of Deputy Prime Minister or Finance Minister, if Act is back in the house after the election.

He said if Act is returned by the public the party must decide how it wants to engage with National.

"It's the government's view that we run a centre right moderate government that is very focused on balancing the books, growing the economy and on ensuring that we take New Zealanders with us," Key said

"It's up to them to decide ultimately what level of influence they want and it's up to the public to decide if they want them back."

Brash is not put off by the Prime Minister's position and said public support for Act may sway his views.

"We will have to wait till after the election to see what relative power we have. When I was in caucus with John Key we had a very good relationship," he said.

The pair spoke on the phone last night as Key made his way from Paris to London for the Royal Wedding.

"We had a cordial conversation," Brash said, saying Key congratulated him for taking over the leadership of Act.

The pressing issue for the two former colleagues to sort out is the immediate future of former Act leader, Rodney Hide.

Key said the Minister for Local Government and Regulatory Reform, and Act's only elected MP, had his confidence and will retain his portfolios.

Brash meanwhile is not so sure, and the two will discuss the issue at a hastily arranged meeting early next week.

Yesterday he said that he had his eye on banks for Hide's seat in Epsom, a seat he has held since 2005.

"Rodney assures me he could have won Epsom and he may well be right, but I want ideally someone standing in Epsom who can not only win it but can be seen to win it months in advance. I think John Banks could do that.

"What is crucially important for Act going forward is that people know that Act has Epsom in the bag."

Brash cannot take over Hide's cabinet roles as he is not a Member of Parliament.

What do you think of the change of leadership? Have your say on the messageboard below.

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  • skc said on 2011-04-29 @ 21:27 NZDT: Report abusive post

    This absurd political posturing throws the spotlight on those potentially destructive aspects of MMP/coalition government. More than ever before, this country needs bold new thinking, not a regurgitation of the old. Remember - the people's mandate comes well before self-serving interests of politicians or parties in free fall. SKC North Shore.

  • ramage said on 2011-04-29 @ 18:43 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Brash 70 the failed former National party Leader Banks 64 failed former Mayor of Auckland trying to rekindle their failed political careers. These men are dangerous right wingers who will take NZ down the road of their own failed political careers. What does this say about Act and Rodney Hide that he can be rolled by an outsider. Hide has been rolled as leader of his own party by someone who was not even a member, how opportunistic. NZ should take note of this bizarre event and beware ACT .

  • dmaclure said on 2011-04-29 @ 12:26 NZDT: Report abusive post

    It gutted leadership coup as election coming up as short time preparing and spell disaster for NZ.

  • perturbed said on 2011-04-29 @ 12:22 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Brash has a slightly crazed look on his face. Megalomania perhaps?

  • Dead Center said on 2011-04-29 @ 09:41 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Key will have little choice but to do whatever Brash wants.. and he fairly much knows its. If Brash takes away enough of Nationals support, and he does have the capability too, then National will have to cave into Brash's demands to form a government. Brash or Peters will be the King makers and we will have minor parties dictating policy yet again.