Tauranga’s Bob Clarkson is the latest high profile former National Party member to defect to the Act Party, joining new leader Don Brash and former Auckland Mayor John Banks in the revamped party.
Bob revealed his intention to support Act when Brash visited Tauranga on Monday.
Bob Clarkson is aligned with Act Party leader Don Brash.
The former Tauranga MP told SunLive he was not going to stand as the party’s candidate in the city, but would campaign for the party in the electorate and provide advice to Brash.
He is not yet an official member of the party, but says it is likely he will join.
Brash led the National Party into the 2005 election, narrowly losing to Helen Clark.
John Banks was the National Party MP for Whangarei from 1981 to 1999.
Brash told SunLive that Clarkson was just one of the many high profile New Zealanders now supporting Act because of concerns about the current National led government.
He would support Clarkson as Tauranga’s Act candidate if he decided to take up the position.
“Bob is a very well regarded person in Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty,” says Brash.
He says Clarkson was very successful at the 2005 election, managing to wrestle Tauranga away from Winston Peters.
Clarkson says he is now supporting Act because of three main issues – the Emissions Trading Scheme, the nation’s $16.7 billion deficit and a need to have ‘one law for all’.
He says Act needs to be in government ‘guiding and supporting’ a National led government, believing Brash is the ‘right man’ to lead Act in doing that.
“Don Brash is an economist – he got New Zealand’s interest rates down from 32 per cent to 5.5 per cent over a five to seven year period,” says Clarkson.
He believes the government is not doing enough to reduce New Zealand’s deficit.
“Any businessman knows when you accrue debt like that you have to do something serious.”
Clarkson told SunLive he wants to work with Brash on affordable housing policies for New Zealand.
Since the last election he has worked with the National government on affordable housing, but says “they’re not doing it right”.