At least eleven ACT ‘vertebrae’ are visible in the agreement reached with John Key.
To cynics like John Armstrong who say Rodney won no firm concessions, consider this…
National has signed up to some or all of these eleven points of ACT’s 20 Point Plan for New Zealand:
1. ACT’s main goal: Close the $500-a- week income gap with Australia by 2025. Now the government’s goal.
2. Point 1: Cut government waste. Rodney has a hand on the scythe.
3. Point 2: Cut tax. All centre-right parties endorse United’s 30% rate for both personal and company tax. A good start.
4. Point 3: Limit local government and cap rates. Rodney in charge.
5. Point 4: Reduce bureaucracy. Well, not growing it is a start.
6. Point 5: Cut red tape. With Rodney on scissors, the cuts should be deep and meaningful.
7. Point 6: Reform the RMA.
8. Point 7: More choice in health. Heather to help make more use of private hospitals.
9. Point 17: Get tough on violent crims. ACT’s 3 Strikes Bill to go forward.
10. Point 18: Review the ETS. ACT wins a stay, and time to convince the public of the high costs and zero environmental benefits.
11. Point 19: Strengthen the constitutional framework. Rodney’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights goes forward.
The cynics may say that Key is just stringing its feisty junior partner along.
But John will know the cost of enraging the likes of Rodney Hide, Roger Douglas and John Boscawen.
He knows ACT aren’t poodles seeking baubles. They’re pitbulls with principles. Best keep them well-fed or government could get ugly.
The agreement is a credit to the negotiating skills of both John and Rodney.
The National caucus may have agreed quickly. But not, I suspect, lightly.