Rodney Hide and Act are preparing to sit down and talk turkey with National's John Key.
Hide, who held his Epsom seat, was elated last night when Act's part part in a National-led government was confirmed in a phone call from Key.
Hide's electorate success boosted the party's numbers in Parliament from two to five, including the party founder Sir Roger Douglas.
Rodney Hide said he had had no substantial negotiations about what role he and Act might play in a future National-led government but he would meet Key tomorrow.
"The people of Epsom have been very good to me and Act," he said as his supporters celebrated in Auckland.
"I have worked every day of the last three years to be the best MP I can be and to make them proud. I was humbled by the result in 2005 and I am even more elated to get an even better result this time."
Sir Roger had earlier signalled that John Key will have to revisit his position on excluding him from a ministerial post. Key had assured voters Sir Roger would not be given a job as a minister in his government. But the former Finance Minister could hold National to ransom as Key tries to form a government.
On his return to Parliament, Sir Roger said: "I decided that I wanted to go back because I believed that I could make a contribution. We've got a fairly serious situation ahead of us and we're probably not facing up to reality in some ways."
Last night's healthy result was a stark contrast from the 2005 election when Hide's surprise win in Epsom saved Act against all odds.
The 51-year-old wearer of the yellow jacket - renowned for strutting around awkwardly in lycra and sequins in Dancing With the Stars, losing his paunch and forking out about $20,000 in cosmetic dentistry - beamed as he celebrated his party's success last night at the Orakei RSA in Mission Bay.
"People have put their trust in me and I want to honour that; I want to make people proud of Act," he said.
Hide had previously told the Herald on Sunday that his entertaining media profile would not be responsible for his votes on the night; it would be entirely about the quality of the party's policies.
Key and Act have made no secret of their intended working relationship if the numbers came through for Act and they were needed, but all will be watching now to see what role Hide might play in the new government.
Hide says there have been no prior deals or promises made with National on what part he might play, and he says recent reports that he could be in charge of prisons and Inland Revenue were proposals about which he had no knowledge.
"The big thing is to get the policy sorted," he said.