New leader and new party
The New Zealand House of Representatives has seen a number of changes in the past week.
ACT New Zealand which has five MPs and is a member of the National Party ruling coalition has a new leader and a new parliamentary leader.
ACT (acronym stands for Association of Consumers and Taxpayers) has announced that its new leader is Dr Don Brash. He replaces Rodney Hide who will stay on as an MP and will retain his ministerial portfolio but will stand down at the next general election.
The ACT parliamentary leader will be John Boscawen until Don Brash is elected.
Meanwhile, Hone Harawira, who left the Māori Party on 23rd February, just before he was about to be expelled from the party for racist remarks has formed a new party, the Mana party.
Harawira has said that he will resign his seat this week and force a by-election in the electorate of Te Tai Tokerau. He will then stand in the by-election to gain a new mandate. The decision has been heavily criticized because a general election has already been announced for 26th November this year.
Other parties are considering whether to contest the by-election, although John Key the Prime Minister and leader of the New Zealand National Party has said that they will not be contesting.