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Dr Brash: Notes On 2005 Final Election Result

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

01 October 2005

Notes On 2005 Final Election Result

Speaking notes for National Party Leader Don Brash, National Party Caucus Room, Old Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

As you all know, the special votes did not improve National's prospects for forming a National-led Government, and indeed in dropping one seat made those prospects worse. I formally concede, on behalf of the National Party, that we did not win enough seats to secure a mandate for the programme we put before the people.

I intend to phone Helen Clark to acknowledge that fact.

Both United Future and New Zealand First have made a commitment to talk first with the larger of the two main parties, so the ball is unambiguously in Helen Clark's court at this stage to try to put together a Labour-led Government.

If she is able to do that, I will be leading a vigorous Opposition committed to promoting policies which are of benefit to all New Zealanders, and opposing policies which cater to narrow sectional interests.

The National Party went into this election committed to reducing the tax burden carried by hard-working New Zealanders, committed to ensuring that all New Zealanders, regardless of race, are equal before the law, committed to a radically improved education system, committed to welfare reform, and committed to safer communities.

We will continue to push those policies because we believe that they are in the interests of all New Zealanders.

It is important to remember that only two seats separate Labour from National in the new Parliament - just 2% of all the party votes cast - and that despite the last Labour Government enjoying the benefits of some of the best export prices for a generation.

That means that today's results provide perhaps the least conclusive outcome to a general election since the introduction of MMP.

They provide no mandate for a continuation of the "winner takes all" approach which has characterised our Parliament over the past six years. Dr Cullen's immortal "we won, you lost, eat that" summation of the style of the Labour-led Government of the past six years will fit very poorly with the results of the 2005 election.

If Helen Clark is successful in putting together a government, therefore, the National Party and New Zealanders more generally will expect to see a very different style of government than we've seen in the recent past. She will need to consult much more widely over key policy decisions and key appointments.

My message to the smaller parties in Parliament is that the New Zealand public did not vote for the continuation of an all-powerful Labour-led administration adopting a "winner takes all" approach to governing this country.

If the Labour Party refuses to accept the constraints imposed by the New Zealand public in today's result, if there is any attempt to carry over the heavy-handed style of the past six years, there will be a ready alternative waiting in the wings.

And if Helen Clark is not successful in putting together a Government in the next few weeks, then I am certainly willing to try to do so. After all, almost half the party votes cast were for parties which can be broadly described as centre-right.

But that is not for today. For the moment, the ball is in Helen Clark's court because Labour clearly enjoys more seats in Parliament than any other single party.

Can I thank all those New Zealanders who voted for the programme we put before the public during the campaign? We more than doubled the number of party votes for National as compared with 2002, and indeed got substantially more party votes than ever before under MMP. We almost doubled our representation in Parliament. We now hold half of all the general electorates. We have got a hugely talented Caucus committed to improving New Zealand's future. So for that I thank the New Zealand public - and of course my Caucus colleagues and campaign team.

And now, to anticipate your first question, let me remind you that I have just been re-elected as Leader of the National Party, and senior colleagues in the Caucus have also told me that they want me to continue as Leader. I have every intention of doing exactly that.

ENDS

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