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Prime Minister John Key today denied throwing the low-polling Act party a lifeline in the Epsom electorate.
“We’re campaigning primarily for the party vote in Epsom,” Mr Key told reporters but added “I’m not sure it’s as clear cut as that actually,” when asked if his National party was throwing Act a lifeline.
“In 2008 and 2005 National leaning voters gave Act MP Rodney hide their electorate vote. That may be the case in 2011 with John Banks but that will ultimately be up to them.
Mr Key’s comments followed weekend media reports that former Auckland City mayor John Banks is failing in his bid to win the Epsom electorate for the beleaguered Act party.
A poll commissioned by the Herald On Sunday shows Mr Banks polling just 18.9% in the electorate, way behind National Party candidate Paul Goldsmith on 32.9%. Labour Party candidate David Parker polled just 4.3%.
Mr Banks – a former National cabinet minister – was chosen to contest Epsom following the dumping of incumbent electorate MP and Act leader Rodney Hide.