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National gets the numbers it needs with deals

Published: 7:52AM Monday December 05, 2011 Source: ONE News

John Key has signed deals with United Future and Act to give National the numbers to form a Government.
The deals include a promise to investigate providing free health check-ups for over 65-year-olds and also a new law to cap increases in Government spending.
Peter Dunne is a one man band as the sole United Future MP, but his one vote is important enough to give him a special deal. 
The Prime Minister elect likens their confidence and supply agreement to a marriage.

"Whenever you look at these confidence and supply agreements it's important to understand they're a bit like the marriage vows," Key said

"They are the starting point but there's a whole lot more that happens behind the scenes after that."
In this marriage, Dunne is Minister of Revenue and Associate Minister of Health and Conservation, and he has struck some deals .
- The Government will investigate free health check-ups for over 65-year-olds but only when the money is there.

- There will be legislation to prevent any more than 49% of a state asset being sold which was National's policy anyway.

- The Government has also agreed to investigate United Future's proposal to make superannuation flexible.

- The Families Commission will remain but the number of commissioners will drop from four down to one.

Problem with names

Although the Families Commission was Dunne's idea, he could not recall the names of all four commissioners today. 

"That might be a good excuse, or a good explanation, of why you'd bring it down to one," he said.

Also down to one is the Act Party. Lone Act MP John Banks sealed his deal with National today too.
Banks, who won the Epsom seat in the election, becomes Minister of Regulatory Reform, Minister for Small Business and Associate Minister of Education and of Commerce.

"We want to make sure every single piece of spending, line by line and dollar by dollar, is well accounted for," Banks said.

With that in mind, Act has National's agreement to limit increases in Government spending to no more than the amount needed to take account of population growth and inflation.

"Outside of that any increase in expenditure would have to see the Minister of Finance having to go to the Parliament and explain why that is taking place," Key said.

As well as taking on ministerial roles, Banks will also be a member of the Cabinet committees dealing with Expenditure Control, Economic Growth and Infrastructure, and Appointments and Honours.
The sole Act MP reckons he has struck a good deal.

"Given our numbers we think that the negotiations have been fair to us," Banks said.

Maori Party not yet on board

Key now has the numbers to govern, but to make governing a little more comfortable he is still trying to secure a deal with the Maori Party.

Key said today he was confident he could sign the Maori Party up to a fully fledged confidence and supply deal.

However, the Maori Party is not so explicit.

It says it will hold a series of hui around the country, giving its members all the options from being in opposition through to being in Government.

Key believes he will know by the end of the week what the Maori Party's position is.

By that time he will also know the results of the special votes that were cast in the election. That means he will know whether National has lost any seats and exactly where he stands.

ONE News political editor Guyon Espiner says at that point, maybe Monday, Key can go to the Governor General and say he has a majority.

He could then swear in the ministers and a fully fledged Government could be in place by mid next week, Espiner said.

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

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