Act picks president to reflect core values

By Ainsley Thomson

Hamilton gym manager Garry Mallett was last night elected to succeed Catherine Judd as Act party president.

Mr Mallett, who has been an Act member since 1995, defeated Hawkes Bay farmer John Ormond in a postal ballot of members.

Trevor Louden was elected vice-president.

Mr Mallett, who stood as an Act candidate in last year's general election, is known to have the support of party co-founder Sir Roger Douglas and traditional members of Act who want to see the party return to its core values.

The election of Mr Mallett is an indication that leader Rodney Hide's "muck-raking" tactics - unpopular with Sir Roger's loyalists in the party - will be under scrutiny.

Mr Mallett, 45, attracted controversy during last year's election when he made a vomiting gesture when talking about gay men at a candidates meeting in Hamilton.

Mr Mallett told NZPA this year: "My personal view on homosexuality, the act of sodomy turns my gut, but having said that I don't think the Government has any role in legislating for that."

Ms Judd, who had been president since 2001, said in January that she intended to resign from the position.

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