Herald journalists show a different side of our politicians in the series Leaders Unplugged. Here, Isaac Davison goes for a beer with an alcohol-free David Seymour and checks out his home-made sports car.
David Seymour suggests we go for a beer even though he doesn't drink.
"Drinking is a hobby," he says. But it's no longer one of his.
He went teetotal a year and a half ago after the heavy-drinking summer period. It's quite a feat, given the prevalence of drinking in New Zealand's political life, from endless corporate functions and fundraisers to the after-work beers at the Beehive's bar on the third floor.
"I just woke up one morning and thought, after all these Christmas functions, I'm sick of being hungover," he says.
"I thought I'll do the month of January. And by the end of January I was feeling so good. Strangely enough, I have no desire to go back."
We end up in a bar called Scarlett Slimms and Lucky on a Friday afternoon. It's in the middle of Mt Eden village in the Epsom electorate he has represented since 2014. He orders an alcohol-free beer, carefully wraps a napkin around it, and drinks it quickly. A cricket match from the 1990s is playing on the television.
Over an hour of conversation, I find that Seymour has constructed a version of himself for the public eye. He portrays himself as a single-minded libertarian, a friend of the beer-drinker and rugby-watcher, and a quick-witted politician who is ready to laugh at himself.
At the same time, he conceals other areas of his life which provide a more complex picture.
His maiden speech in 2014 - usually an opportunity for an MP to introduce themself to the country - has almost nothing about his upbringing or his family. Instead, it is an earnest essay on free market economics and Austrian philosophy.
"That would be an indulgence," he says, when I asked why he omitted anything about himself. "I mean ... who cares?"
After six years as an MP, however, he reluctantly concedes that politicians need to connect on a human level.
His attempts to do so have occasionally been clumsy. He made a cringeworthy appearance on Dancing with the Stars in 2018. He has never liked dancing, and hasn't danced since. He also injured his knee so badly on the show that he hasn't been able resume hobbies he actually likes, including rugby.
Some of the points he has hidden or not readily volunteered about his life are poignant.
I ask about his mother Victoria and his face shifts from jauntiness to something more reflective. He puts down his drink and speaks about her with real emotion.
"Vickie" was one of the last people in New Zealand to contract polio, just months before the vaccine arrived. She recovered, spent years in care homes, and then worked her way up to the prestigious role of chief pharmacist at the North Shore District Health Board. She was a third-wave feminist, and the person who had the greatest political impact on Seymour.
"It is an extraordinary story of really everything to do with individual determination and a welfare state that works," he says.
"It's also one of the reasons I'm quite severe with the anti-vaxxers, as was she, throughout her life. She was driven by science."
The Seymour family grew up on a lifestyle block in Whangārei, bought for $60,000. Seymour had a pet goat and went to a Decile 1 intermediate school. He played rugby, first on the wing then as flanker "after my lack of ball skills were recognised". His mother voted National and his dad, Breen, voted Labour.
"Act was an offspring of the two parties, so I guess it made sense."
He briefly dabbled in acting at high school. With no previous experience, he was chosen to play a young Sir Edmund Hillary in a televised documentary. He was moved when Sir Ed sat down and chatted to him for 20 minutes.
"He was just so cool. He's like, in my view, apart from Kate Sheppard, the greatest ever New Zealander. In Whangārei, you think you'll never meet anyone famous and then you come down and meet Ed f***ing Hillary, you know, the guy is on the $5 note."
The documentary included a scene in which Sir Ed, a scrawny Auckland Grammar student, was bullied in the school gym. Seymour later boarded at the same school and hints that boarding and school life may have been tough on him - though he was never bullied.
It was also at Auckland Grammar that he was politicised, when he objected to Government forcing the school to take up NCEA. He joined the Act Party at 21 years old and later led Act on Campus at the University of Auckland.
Another part of his story he has downplayed is that he is qualified engineer. He was strongly influenced by his pioneering grandparents, Joe and Jackie Faithfull, who came from broken homes, met as teenagers, and later built up an electrical engineering firm which worked on the Marsden Point oil refinery, power stations in the Pacific, and the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.
With that engineering blood, Seymour started building a sports car by hand at age 15. It took him eight years to finish it.
After two drinks, we head to his flat nearby to take a look at the car, a yellow-coloured Lotus 7. He gets into the bucket seat and revs the engine in the garage, tearing the quiet, suburban night apart.
The car is road-legal, but he rarely drives it: "It has a bit of a Noddy-esque look about it." Instead, he travels by E-bike. ("That will f*** off the greenies.")
The garage is cluttered with tools, and a billboard from his 2017 Epsom campaign is wedged in behind a pile of boxes. Seymour rents the home, a stone's throw from Diocesan School for Girls, with two flatmates. He doesn't own a house.
The 37-year-old is the solitary Act MP in Parliament and is single outside of it. Earlier, at the bar, I asked him about girlfriends and he batted the question away: "Two and a half million women in New Zealand, and none of them are that desperate."
But when I ask about whether he wants a family, his confident, wise-cracking demeanour slips a little.
"It's very difficult to average five flights a week and be a good partner," he says. "What I observe is that nobody comes out of Parliament with better relationships than they went in with."
He changes the subject, pointing out the old cricket match on the bar's television. Glenn McGrath is bowling to Brian Lara. It's nearly 6pm and the pubs in Mt Eden are filling up. Seymour is heading off to a house party on Karangahape Rd to give his stump speech to an audience of 25 people. He's wearing an Act lapel on his jacket.
We get talking about his euthanasia law change, and he reverts back to the other David Seymour, the self-assured politician.
"I'm driven by what policy difference I can make," he says. "That's the only legacy that matters."