Former Act leader Rodney Hide has saved his ministerial job but has given up hopes of standing for Parliament in this year's election, saying new leader Don Brash did not support him.

Dr Brash met Prime Minister John Key yesterday after a meeting of the Act caucus. He said Mr Hide would keep his job as a minister until the election, but Act would surrender John Boscawen's ministerial post to enable him to focus on being the party's deputy leader and parliamentary leader.

Mr Hide was expected to lose his portfolios after he ceded the leadership to Dr Brash during the weekend.

Until yesterday, Mr Hide had refused to rule out seeking selection as an Act candidate again.

"I'm 100 per cent behind Act and Don as leader. But you can stand only if you have the support of the leader, and that is what I said to him. Clearly, I don't have his support to stand.

"I did say I was hoping to change his mind, but he's made his views very clearly on that front."

Labour leader Phil Goff said: "Clearly, what Rodney Hide has done is said he will throw his toys out of the cot if he's deprived of this shred of his dignity, his ministerial portfolios."

Mr Hide said he was "not a tanty type of guy".

Dr Brash had agreed that he should stay as a minister, saying there were two pieces of legislation based on Act principles which he wanted to continue working on.

They were the Regulatory Responsibility Bill, which is before a select committee, and a bill to cap rates increases which was yet to be drafted.

National had agreed to support both bills to the select committee stage.

Prime Minister John Key said he was happy for Mr Hide to continue, saying he had found him an effective Minister of Local Government.

He expected to pass Mr Boscawen's Consumer Affairs portfolio to Simon Power. He said the half-hour meeting was "cordial" and he would continue to meet Dr Brash and Mr Boscawen on parliamentary issues.

Dr Brash said he supported Mr Boscawen's election as Act's leader in Parliament. Although Mr Boscawen supported Mr Hide, he now agreed Dr Brash was the best leader for Act.

He said the handover of leadership was not ideal, "but the outcome in terms of Dr Brash being the leader is very important, and I think he will make a major contribution to lifting Act's party vote in the election".

Yesterday, Act MP Heather Roy said she was content with the outcome and had a good working relationship with Dr Brash. The party's newest MP, Hillary Calvert, was appointed whip.