Two days after a reportedly acrimonious caucus debate over the Health and Safety in Employment Reform Bill involving Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson, approaches were made for him to join ACT.

But yesterday the Prime Minister said those approaches had been made without Mr Williamson’s authority.

Mr Key referring to yesterday’s “POLITIK” story also said that Mr Williamson had told him he would not cross the floor and vote against the Health and Safety in Employment Reform Bill.

There was always doubt over this.

‘POLITIK” reported some suggestions that he had said this at a Caucus meeting but also reported that one senior Minister who was at the meeting discounted the suggestion.

Nevertheless ACT in its newsletter today confirmed those approaches were made by former National and ACT Leader, Don Brash and they were rejected by ACT’s board.

Dr Brash is not responding to calls.

Dr Brash’s meeting with the ACT board took place two days after the caucus meeting on the Health and Safety Bill.

Mr Key said Mr Williamson had told him in “his version of events” that he had never had a conversation with anyone from ACT and he was not interested in leaving National and joining ACT.


Mr Key said some people had been having a brainstorming session on what they might have thought was a good idea.

“People are always free to do that but it’s not with Maurice’s authority.”

However he remains a disgruntled figure within National’s caucus apparently denied any chance of reinstatement as a Minister after he was demoted last year because of an intervention he made with police for wealthy Chinese constituent.

And he has always been on the right of the party with occasional speculation that he could leave and join ACT.

Dr Brash’s silence on the whole matter simply adds to the speculation.

Mr Williamson has apparently lately become something of a law unto himself within National’s caucus with doubts about whether he will turn up to Select Committees or the House when he is expected to.

His electorate organisation is also said to have had a fall off in members. If that is the case then it makes it easier for someone to challenge Mr Williamson for the nomination should he seek  it again at the next election. 

Mr Williamson was not contactable yesterday.

Cameron Salter, “Whaleoil”, is a long standing friend of Mr Williamson, and he said on his blog yesterday that strong words were had within the National Caucus over the Health and Safety in Employment Bill and MPs crossing the floor.

“The PM was told that he shouldn’t worry because this bill is so daft that even the Greens will vote for it, and that it delivers every wet dream of the Labour party with regards to nanny state provisions in the workplace.”

If that report is correct, it is likely that comment came from Mr Williamson.  

The ACT newsletter also contains a statement suggesting that Dr Brash believed Mr Williamson’s career inside National was finished.

“My own party don’t want me no more is not an attractive pitch,” it said.

“For similar reasons, what poor country would accept him as ambassador?”

There is one unconfirmed report that Mr Williamson met Mr Key in between the Caucus meeting and Dr Brash’s overtures.

Is it possible that an early resignation and a diplomatic posting was discussed at that meeting and hence the ACT reference?

Mr Williamson is an impulsive politician and this is not the first time he has been linked to ACT.

He has also had a track record of getting offside with National’s leaders.

Sooner or later he will surely run out of space within the National Caucus.