This article has already created a bit of a stir on David Farrar’s Kiwi Blog
From today’s Sunday Star Times
Act leader Rodney Hide says the right-wing party would go into coalition with Labour if it supported significant tax cuts.
Act, whose more natural bedfellow is National, is being repositioned by Hide as he attempts to drag it up in the polls, where it sits around 2%. That means considering a coalition with its traditional foe.
Hide and Act MP Heather Roy returned last week from a two week trip to Europe where they met leaders of the Irish Progressive Democrats and Germany’s Free Democrats. The self-funded trip has given Hide – who is reinventing his bovver-boy image by shedding more than 30kg and becoming a fitness fanatic – a new strategy for Act.
The Free Democrats – who, like Act, are the small free market party in a MMP environment – have swung between major political parties on the basis of policy concessions. This has largely kept them in government, although they are currently in opposition.
Last week Hide took a swing at National’s leader Don Brash’s dampening down of tax cut expectations, saying it was clear the party had “adopted Labour’s position and is offering no real alternatives to New Zealanders”.
He said “historically the Labour Party has been the one (to cut taxes)… and I look forward to discussing that with Labour and National”.
Hide said he would negotiate with “one or two” bottom lines, the main one being tax cuts.
“Nothing would give me more pleasure than supporting a Labour party with good economic policy,” he said. “Helen Clark and Michael Cullen have made it plain they are ideologically opposed to tax cuts, and I think that’s a shame. A lot of people in the Labour Party recognise what a difference tax cuts would make to working New Zealanders.”