Act leader David Seymour won’t roll over just to sit in Government alongside National.
Speaking to The Front Page podcast, Seymour says that flash positions and job titles aren’t the reason he’s interested in government.
“The one thing Act is very clear on is that we won’t go for the baubles,” says Seymour.
“Other people have done that and it’s got them nowhere. And it hasn’t got New Zealand anywhere either. I don’t think being a minister in the New Zealand government is a particularly laudable achievement.”
While he says it’s premature to talk about the prospect of a coalition before voters have actually decided on who they want, he says the nature of the agreement with National isn’t a given.
“If we don’t have a coalition agreement where the government is prepared to do worthwhile policy reform, then we certainly don’t want Act ministers there apologising for bad National Party policies. If they’re not prepared to make that agreement, we make them government but we’ll sit on the cross-benches and negotiate everything, vote by vote.
“That would be a painful situation for both parties but we’re prepared to do it as a backstop to these guys thinking they can ignore us.”
In this statement, Seymour makes it definitively clear that Act should no longer be viewed as a small party – something that’s driven by the fact his goal is for Act to reach 20 per cent of the vote in the next election.
“This time is going to be different on the current polling. They’re going to have to share power and be prepared to reverse Labour policies: two things they’ve never done before but are essential for the long-term prosperity of New Zealand.”
Seymour has already outlined plans to remove a number of government departments that exist in the current political framework, including the Ministry for Ethnic Communities, the Ministry for Pacific Affairs, the Ministry for Women and the Human Rights Commission.
“I know that people will immediately see that as an attack on those demographics, but I would turn it around and ask: Well, what has the Ministry for Women actually done for the average woman in New Zealand lately? Is there a practical outcome or benefit that justifies the funding that goes into the Ministry of Women? This is tens of millions of dollars a year and you just can’t see it.”
Seymour’s willingness to express views like this has at times led to him being accused of attacking vulnerable and minority groups in society. Some have gone even further accusing him of dog-whistling on race-related issues.
- So what’s Seymour’s response to these accusations?
- What policies does he want to get across the line?
- What are his views on a capital gains tax?
- How soon does he want to lift the age of superannuation?
- Are any of his policy plans non-negotiable?
- And how would he like to see the modern application of the Treaty of Waitangi changed?
Listen to the full episode of The Front Page podcast to hear an in-depth discussion on what Seymour actually wants if he’s part of the next Government.
The Front Page is a daily news podcast from the New Zealand Herald, available to listen to every weekday from 5am.