National Party leader Christopher Luxon says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s “arrogant prick” comment in Parliament yesterday is a sign she is under pressure as we approach the end of the year.
Ardern was caught speaking poorly of Act leader David Seymour, calling him “such an arrogant prick” under her breath as she took her seat following questions in the House of Representatives.
Such remarks would ordinarily not be heard, but Ardern’s desk microphone picked up the comment.
On AM this morning, Luxon said he “absolutely” did not think Seymour was an arrogant prick and actually thought of him as a “very thoughtful young man”.
“David was my neighbour for many years. He was a very good neighbour I can tell you that. He was very well behaved, kept his music under control. I found him to be a very dedicated public servant, and also very deeply involved in policy development,” Luxon said.
Luxon said he is conscious the microphone is on all the time, but said he is sure he has made a remark about someone else in the house that he wouldn’t want them to hear.
“The great thing is the Prime Minister apologised very quickly, David accepted it in good grace and frankly it just speaks to the Prime Minister being under a bit of pressure at the end of the year,” he said.
Luxon said the great thing about New Zealand politics was that matters could be agreed on without getting deeply personable or disagreeable.
“I really hope that as we go into next year we can focus on the actual difference we have in policies rather than getting into the petty politics of it all.”
Ardern has since apologised to Seymour for the remarks via text.
Referencing another instance when he had been called names by Labour MP Willie Jackson, Seymour told media: “Some days I am a useless Māori, others days I am an arrogant prick.
“The apology we are really looking for is for New Zealanders worried about rising prices and ram raids.
“Jacinda Ardern texted me and said, ‘I apologise, it’s not something I should have said and she said, as my mum would say, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it’.
“I agree with the sentiment and it is all good as far as I am concerned. I just said, thank you and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. At the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world.”
Seymour told Newstalk ZB’s Heather du Plessis-Allan he’d been called worse, and he actually saw it as “a victory”.
“I asked her the question ... before she said it ... can she give us one example where she’d made a mistake, admitted it, apologised and fixed it.
“She couldn’t answer the question which is probably why she was a bit flustered ... the great irony is now I actually have got her to apologise for something. So that’s progress. I just wish she’d apologise for a few other things.”
Seymour had been asking Ardern a series of questions relating to senior Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta’s performance, hate speech reforms and other policies.