Douglas to take high position on Act list

By Audrey Young

Act founder Sir Roger Douglas has agreed to take a high position on the Act party list - meaning he stands a real chance of being elected to Parliament.

When he agreed in March to stand for Act this year, he indicated that he wanted to lift the profile of Act's policies but would stand in an electorate, and possibly well down the list.

Now he has agreed to go high on the list, meaning that although an electorate seat is unrealistic, a return to Parliament is a real possibility. A number three spot is the most likely.

The top spot is traditionally held by the leader, Epsom MP Rodney Hide.

The No 2 spot last time was held by list MP Heather Roy. Because Mr Hide won an electorate seat, Act was able to claim its Party Vote entitlement despite polling under the 5 per cent threshold last election, claiming two MPs with its 1.5 per cent vote.

The announcement about Sir Roger's decision was made by Mr Hide yesterday at a barbecue at Karaka in the Hunua electorate, where Sir Roger will stand.

The barbecue was at the home of Sir Roger's brother Malcolm Douglas, who held the seat briefly after the 1978 election before being ousted by his National opponent Winston Peters in an electoral petition.

Malcolm Douglas will manage his brother's campaign. National MP Paul Hutchison, who holds the Port Waikato seat, will contest the newly named Hunua seat, as will Labour first-time candidate Jordan Carter.

Sir Roger lives in Hunua. He was first elected to Parliament in 1969 and was Finance Minister in David Lange's Fourth Labour's Government until it split over Sir Roger's economic policies.

Mr Hide said he could not keep up with the 70-year-old Sir Roger now.

"He started off reluctant, then he decided to stand and once he decided to stand he is off and he is not stopping. He is coming back to Parliament."

Mr Hide, meanwhile, said the party would begin distribution this week of the first of its pledge cards.

It was printing about 435,000 cards with 20 policy points on it, at a cost of $30,000.

- NZ Herald

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