No deal on Epsom, yet - Seymour

ACT leader David Seymour says no Epsom deal has been made with the National Party ahead of this year's election.

Usually parties only make it into Parliament if they get more than 5 percent of the vote, but a quirk in MMP means any party that wins a seat - even if it's just one - is allowed to bring in more MPs if they get at least 1.2 percent of the vote.

In recent elections, National and ACT's arrangement in the wealthy Epsom electorate has evolved from an implied endorsement to a direct one, with the former hoping the latter can bring in a few extra MPs.

But Mr Seymour told The Nation on Saturday says nothing's been planned for this year's vote.

"There's no such thing as a deal," he told host Lisa Owen. "You journalists love the idea that all the politicians make deals with each other."

Mr Seymour might need a reminder that in 2014, the two parties worked closely together - then-Prime Minister John Key even raised $20,000 for Mr Seymour's campaign. Mr Seymour said that didn't constitute any formal arrangement.

"That's not a deal - that's just their self-interest."

Whether it's a deal or not, Mr Seymour says he expects new Prime Minister Bill English to take a leaf out of Mr Key's book and give him the nod.

"I think they probably will."

The problem for ACT however is they failed to bring in any extra MPs in 2014, and polling suggest they won't this time either. But Mr Seymour isn't daunted.

"I think we're going to repeat our 2008 performance… five members of Parliament."

United Future

United Future's Peter Dunne hasn't extracted a promise from National they'll back him in Ohariu, however. A former Labour MP, Mr Dunne has stood alongside the National Government since it came to power in 2008.

But with the Green Party-Labour alliance meaning the Greens won't field a candidate in Ohariu, Mr Dunne could perhaps do with all the help he can get. Despite this, the veteran MP remains confident he'll pull through.

"All of the feedback I'm getting is a number of people are very unhappy about what's happening, and I'm getting more support now," he told The Nation.

He says an endorsement would be welcome, either way.

The Māori Party

The Māori Party's Te Ururoa Flavell says they've never made a deal with the National Party, despite the close bonds they've formed over the last nine years together in Government.

"We haven't had a chat about it," Mr Flavell said.

"It's our responsibility to convince our people that we are the right option for them, against a party that continually throws them under the bus - the one that's coloured in red."

He says while they're open to working with Labour if their policies work for Māori, Labour "have declared they don't want to work with us, which is a bit of a problem".

New Zealand First

If National can't get a majority with their traditional support partners, they may have to turn to New Zealand First, led by former National MP Winston Peters.

Mr Dunne says if that happens, he might bail.

"New Zealand First is a negative, disruptive force in New Zealand politics. The one certainty if you have NZ First is involved is it falls over."

Mr Seymour isn't keen to work with NZ First either.

"Winston Peters is New Zealand's longest-serving beneficiary, and our most expensive politician, our most expensive citizen in fact, so no way."

Mr Flavell says it depends on NZ First's policies, but is open to working with them.

Newshub.

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