Former head of Federated Farmers Don Nicolson has been confirmed as a candidate for the Act Party this for November's election, and is expected to have a high list ranking.

The former head of Federated Farmers was widely expected to join the Act Party, given his political ambitions, his opposition to the Government's Emissions Trading Scheme and his support of free markets and less regulation.

At a press conference in Wellington today, Mr Nicolson, who will stand
in the Clutha-Southland electorate, said he hoped to swing votes from the farming sector from National to Act.

"Support amongst farmers is high for the Act Party, obviously around
the ETS, around Resource Management Act reform, around property rights ... I'm hoping to get the party vote for Act in rural New Zealand."

Mr Nicolson is based in Waimatua, on the outskirts of Invercargill. He has a farming background and will be party's spokesman for agriculture.

"I hope to put a bit of steel back into the farmers' voice," Mr Nicolson said.

Dr Brash said the party would only seek electorate votes in Epsom, where former Auckland mayor John Banks will be standing for Act. In all
other parts of the country, candidates will campaign for the party vote.

He said he was "absolutely delighted" that Mr Nicolson wanted to stand for Act, and although the party board would not finalise the party list until the end of the month, he suggested Mr Nicolson would have a high ranking.

"The board has discussed Mr Nicolson's candidacy, and are very enthusiastic about it, so I don't doubt that he will be in a strong position on the list," Dr Brash said.

Mr Nicolson said he supported all of Act's policies, including those
contained in controversial advertisements that were published at the weekend that critics have called divisive and backward-looking.

Another advertisement, containing the words Apartheid Aotearoa, did
not run because Dr Brash was not comfortable with the language.

When asked if we lived in Apartheid Aotearoa, Mr Nicolson said: "We
certainly have a division in this country that is not helpful. I support one law for all. I support legislation being colour-blind, and sadly it is not colour-blind, currently."

He said he was approached by former leader Rodney Hide last year to stand for Act, and he would have wanted to stand for Act this year
regardless of who the leader was.

Mr Nicolson had a long association with Federated Farmers, where he was the president for the last three years until June. He was the national vice-president for three years before that, and was first elected to the National Board in 2003.

He was president of the Southland chapter from 2002 to 2005.

He said he had never been a member of any political party, but had made a donation to the National Party around 1985.

Dr Brash said he was disappointed with where Act was polling at the moment, which had hardly moved since he took over the leadership.

Mr Nicolson joins corporate lawyer Cathy Odgers - who has joined
the party - and Epsom candidate John Banks as new blood for the parliamentary party, which is losing current MPs Heather Roy and Sir Roger Douglas to retirement after November's election.