In a state-of-the-nation-style lunchtime speech in Auckland today, the leader of the Act Party has taken aim at both major party leaders. “Throughout this speech,” David Seymour told supporters at the Maritime Museum, “I will do my best to differentiate between the Chrisses, but it may not be easy.”
Seymour argued that the new prime minister, Chris Hipkins, was substantially a continuation of the approach under Jacinda Ardern, but his main pitch was to those who might be attracted to Christopher Luxon’s National Party. Without Act, he said, that offering was also “more of the same”. He homed in on Luxon’s new emphasis on “getting things done”, as laid out in his January caucus retreat speech. “Every time I hear Chris Luxon say that the Labour ‘doesn’t get things done’, it terrifies me. Could he seriously want them to do more? … We don’t need a government that gets things done, we need a government that does a lot less so that you can get things done,” said Seymour to applause.
Seymour reiterated messages on co-governance (or “co-government” in his framing), on law and order and free speech. On climate change, he extended his criticisms from Chrisses to a James, in rejecting the Green co-leader’s commentary on climate action and the recent flooding calamity in Auckland. “Taxing Kiwi cows for their farts and burps will not make one iota of difference to flooding in Auckland,” said Seymour. “Clearing drains regularly, that would help more. And it is insulting and infantile to pretend otherwise, as 800 words of wasted column inches in the Herald by James Shaw tried to tell us the other day.”
Earlier today, Seymour took umbrage at Labour minister Willie Jackson’s use of language in an interview on the future of co-governance. “Chris Hipkins should swiftly and categorically condemn Labour frontbencher Willie Jackson’s violent rhetoric about the prospects of Māori under an Act-National government”, said Seymour in a statement. “Newsroom reports freshly promoted Jackson as saying Māori will get ‘thrown under the bus, crushed and killed’ under a National-ACT government. That kind of talk is violent, divisive, unnecessary, and offensive.”