Q+A: Act Leader David Seymour
Q+A: Act Leader David Seymour interviewed by Corin Dann
Act Leader David Seymour says National under Bill English won’t get 45%
Act Leader David Seymour told TVNZ’s Q+A programme today that he doubted National would get 45% of the vote under Bill English at the next election:
“I think there’s quite a large change. I mean, I think Bill will be a very good Prime Minister. I’ve got a lot of time for Bill. But I predict he won’t make 45%, and that’s not being unkind; it’s just that John Key was a singular phenomenon in politics. Helen Clark was a good prime minister in her day, but she never made it past 42%. And so as a result, coalitions become the order of the day. And it’s time for ACT to step up.”
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Q + A
Interviewed by Corin Dann
CORIN What’s your assessment here? How much has this changed the game?
DAVID I think there’s quite a large change. I mean, I think Bill will be a very good Prime Minister. I’ve got a lot of time for Bill. But I predict he won’t make 45%, and that’s not being unkind; it’s just that John Key was a singular phenomenon in politics. Helen Clark was a good prime minister in her day, but she never made it past 42%. And so as a result, coalitions become the order of the day. And it’s time for ACT to step up.
CORIN You don’t think that obviously raises the Winston factor as well? You think you can somehow fill that gap and not Winston. Is that what you’re saying?
DAVID Well, the guy’s got an extraordinary ability to stay in parliament without actually achieving anything. So he’s good and he’ll go out and campaign, but there’s a lot of people out there, particular younger New Zealanders, who are saying, ‘We actually want some action. We actually want some change. We are sick of paying such high taxes.’ And ACT is saying that no one—
CORIN So you’re signalling you’re maybe going to turn the guns on the government a little bit here and put some acid on them and try and steal a bit of vote off them.
DAVID Well, I’d call it pressure and support, not just for people who are thinking about voting National, but people across the spectrum who are saying, ‘Look, Bill English is going to be a better prime minister than Andrew Little. But what’s the agenda going to be? What’s he going to do about Super?’ Well, we’ve just heard from Steven Joyce; they don’t know. What are they going to do about housing that’s going to be different from what they’ve done for the past eight years? What are they going to do on tax? And I think ACT’s actually in a very good position to pressure and support a future National government to take action on those issues.
CORIN He’s a social conservative. Do you think that offers you opportunity as a social liberal on the right to attract votes?
DAVID I think that there are people out there who are comfortable with the idea of lower taxes, a better business environment and more prosperous New Zealand. But they’ll be less comfortable with the social conservatism that is going to be inherent in a Bill English government. He can’t help himself on that. And my appeal is that ACT has always been a liberal party. Our basic outlook is that so long as you’re not harming anyone else, you should be free to try—
CORIN But you’re running against the tide, aren’t you? I mean, globalisation, neoliberalism – we’ve seen around the world voters are rejecting that trend of the last 20, 30 years, and you’re still out there banging away. How on earth are you going to attract people?
DAVID I think the way you attract people is you say, ‘Look, what’s actually the answer to the housing market?’ Well, the answers are free up the land-use planning laws that have given us a massive shortage of land you’re actually allowed to build on—
CORIN Government’s doing that, isn’t it?
DAVID Not very effectively. They’ve made a lot of noise, but frankly, their approach has been the most cynical approach in politics. They have made a lot of noise about doing things, but the actual rate of home building hasn’t really changed. There’s still a shortage; prices are still high. And even people in central Auckland are saying, ‘Look, I’m quite happy my house is worth $2 million, but I’ve got three kids and I don’t know how I’m going to give them $6 million, cumulatively.’ So that’s an issue which actually comes back to classic, orthodox economics, which ACT happens to be very good at.
CORIN David Seymour, thank
you very much for your
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