Hide sees possibility of returning to parliament
Former ACT Party leader Rodney Hide isn't shutting the door on his political career -- although the man who rolled him could slam it.
New leader Don Brash doesn't want Mr Hide to stand for re-election in the Epsom seat, and has indicated he doesn't want him in Parliament at all.
But Mr Hide said on TV One's Q&A programme that didn't mean he was out of politics for good.
"I've got until November 26 to be the best that I can be as a minister and as the MP for Epsom. I'm going to do that, I'm not making any hasty decisions," he said.
"I'm his (Dr Brash's) best adviser and supporter...you learn a bit as leader of a small party in government, and also I know how hard the job is."
Mr Hide almost certainly won't stand in Epsom because Dr Brash wants former Auckland mayor John Banks to contest the seat, but Mr Hide could return to Parliament as a list MP if the party gives him one of the top slots.
He appears to intend trying to persuade Dr Brash to agree to that.
Dr Brash took over the leadership two weeks ago after Mr Hide stood down in the face of caucus pressure from MPs who didn't believe the party could survive the election without a change.
At the time, Dr Brash wasn't even a member of ACT and Mr Hide said today the change had been "rather unorthodox".
He said he stood down because he didn't think ACT or the Government, which ACT supports through an agreement, could handle the sort of fight that would have ensued if he hadn't.
"I reconciled myself to that and I worked assiduously to get a smooth transition," he said.
Dr Brash is hoping ACT can gain up to 15 percent of the party vote in the election, which would give it more than 20 MPs.
But Prime Minister John Key has told The Economist magazine he believes it will appeal to only "a very narrow slice of the voting population".
Mr Key was interviewed while he was in London for the royal wedding, and The Economist has posted a video on its website.
Mr Key said he didn't think the change of leadership would mean a great deal.
"ACT has always had an extreme right-wing doctrine as the founding philosophy of that party," he said.
"It typically had an appeal to quite a narrow audience in New Zealand and, in my view, that will continue."