By AUDREY YOUNG



Act New Zealand is losing 80 per cent of its head office staff in Auckland after a cost-cutting review by new president Catherine Judd.



Three staff of the five were farewelled yesterday afternoon from the party's Newmarket offices - though one was poached.



And the chief executive, Bruce Howat, has been asked by the party's ruling board of trustees to start casting around for another job.

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"Largely it has been driven by cost," said Catherine Judd. "We have a lot of other spending priorities."



The party would have a simple administrator, rely more on volunteers and get a field officer out among electorates.



The corporate structure would disappear.



"I'm sorry this is the outcome in a sense but we just have to be realistic about what we can afford and about what we are trying to do.



"We want to get more action. There are high hopes of this board and of me that we will get things moving."



She said the party needed to improve communication and its standing among women.



Act was running focus groups all around the country to get a better understanding of how to "politicise women and feminise Act".



"There's a challenge."

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The party's new trust board was elected at the party conference in March with the endorsement of retiring president Sir Roger Douglas.



Like new National Party president Michelle Boag, Catherine Judd is a public relations consultant and is Wellington-based.



Act polled 7 per cent last election and has nine MPs. It will have to win 5 per cent of the vote or win an electorate seat to have any MPs in the next Parliament. For most of this year Act's polling has been below 5 per cent.