The Act party has placed a gun lobbyist and a climate change sceptic school teacher at third and fourth place on its parliamentary list for the September 19 election.
On the most recently published public polling, this week's One News-Colmar Brunton poll that put the libertarian party at 4 per cent support, Act could expect to bring both Nicole McKee, from the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners, and Nelson teacher and pub owner Chris Baillie to Parliament.
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The council campaigned against aspects of the crackdown on semi-automatic weapons that followed the March 15 2019 terrorist shootings at two mosques in Christchurch. It expressed doubts about whether the gun buy-back would work as intended and feared it was both penalising legitimate gun-owners and failed to recognise the legitimate need for such weapons, for example, for pest animal control.
Fourth on the list is Baillie, who was identified on Twitter today by Nelson city councillor Rohan O'Neill-Stevens as "a teacher best known in Nelson circles for leading a 'climate hysteria skeptics' group at his school and always putting 'climate change' in inverted commas" - a claim backed by a student at the school in the same Twitter thread.
In a written submission to the Nelson council's 2020-21 annual plan, Baillie argued against the council spending ratepayers' funds on climate change action, saying that in the last 29 years, "there has been no identifiable effect of 'climate change' in Nelson that can't be explained by normal erosion and weather patterns."
The council's position on the issue was based on "grandstanding, confusing care for the environment with a popular political agenda."
Get kids thinking
In a texted statement to BusinessDesk, Baillie did not give his personal view about climate change but said that he "ran a climate change discussion group to get students thinking critically about the issue."
"A lot of young people are feeling hopeless as a result of some of the hysterical claims that are made by environmentalists and the left. Half the kids I talk to think the world is ending. The goal was to encourage rational discussion among students."
Today's announcements also included the elevation of Brooke van Velden to deputy leader and number two on the list, replacing the previous deputy leader, Beth Houlbrooke, who falls to an unelectable 13th position on the party list, based on current polling.
Van Velden worked in Seymour's office until recently as a policy adviser and was instrumental in the success of his campaign for the End of Life Bill on voluntary euthanasia, which will go to a binding referendum on election day.
Fifth on the list, and the last of the candidates with a likely chance of election in September, is Simon Court, a civil and environmental engineer who cites Act as supporting innovation over regulation to fix environmental challenges.
"Reducing waste to landfill, bringing real sustainability in construction and building, and clean water in towns and country are critical issues. One way of solving them is replacing the Resource Management Act, which is not fit for purpose and needs to go," Court said in a statement released with the Act list.