Act leader David Seymour has started to set out some of his bottom lines as a condition for going into Government after the election, including a repeal of any hate speech laws and reversing some of the firearms reforms in the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre.
"A Government dependent on Act will never pass laws that restrict your speech," he said in a state of the nation speech in Auckland yesterday.
"We will expect National to join with us in repealing any hate speech laws introduced in the dying days of this Government."
He said the gun laws in response to the shootings last year in which 51 people were killed was "collective punishment for the worst crime in our nation's history on a group of people who'd done nothing wrong".
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The Government set up a buy-back scheme for military style semi-automatics and some classes of weapons and in a second tranche of reforms is proposing a new firearms licensing register.
"Act in Government would insist on reversing the second tranche of firearms laws, reintroducing the E-Category, and getting the woeful police out of firearms licensing and administration," Seymour said.
He said growth in productivity would be a priority for Act in Government, as would partnership schools, also known as charter schools, which the current Government curtailed.
"Any future Government that Act is in will bring back partnership schools in even greater numbers," he said.
Seymour said private polling by UMR last year had Act polling enough for five MPs.
The last 1NewsColmar Brunton of the year had Act with enough support to double Seymour's caucus to two MPs after September 19, assuming he keeps his Epsom seat.
In that poll, National and Act could have formed a Government if it were translated to votes.
"The Act Party stands to hold the balance of power after this election," he said.
He later clarified that when asked if Act would be willing to negotiate with Labour if Act held the balance of power.
"We've shown we can work with anyone to advance Act agenda such as with the End of Life Choice Bill but it's almost impossible to imagine Labour offering a better deal than National when it comes to advancing issues important to us such as tax, education and Resource Management Act reform, let alone free speech and fair firearm laws."
In his speech he said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had invented "the politics of gesture".
"Every initiative is an empty gesture," he said, listing moves in housing, child poverty, pollution, firearms and the price of petrol.
None of it would actually make New Zealanders' lives better.
Banning plastic bags will not reduce the amount of plastic going into the ocean, he said.
Plastic bag litter from New Zealand was not the source of ocean plastic – "but it is a fantastic gesture".
Doing a market study into petrol companies would not reduce the price of petrol -the petrol companies' slice was tiny compared with the price of oil and taxes.
"But bashing big business is a great gesture."
Having the Government build houses would not solve the shortage of housing - the real problem was a shortage of land to build houses on.
"But it is a great gesture."
Buying the least powerful firearms off the most law abiding New Zealanders would not stop the next terrorist, "but it is a great gesture".
Reporting income statistics, as required by the Child Poverty Reduction Bill, would not reduce child poverty.
"The real problem is child neglect, but passing a Child Poverty Reduction Bill is a great gesture.
"I'm sure there's a phrase used to describe people who are content with simply signalling their virtues.
"Taken together, the Prime Minister is tackling the housing crisis, saving the oceans from plastic waste, making petrol more affordable, protecting us from terrorism, and fighting child poverty. That's why she has fans."
But they were empty gestures none of which would make New Zealanders' lives better.
The speech was given under the banner Make Aotearoa Great Again, similar to US President Donald Trump's slogan Make America Great Again.