ACT’s David Seymour says he will work with Winston Peters if that’s what National needs to form centre-right govt; Says he won't take Ministerial post next-term to allow for time to get his euthanasia bill through

By Alex Tarrant

ACT Party leader David Seymour says he would enter a coalition that included New Zealand First’s Winston Peters, if that’s what National needed to form a centre-right government after September 23.

In an interview with Interest.co.nz Thursday afternoon, Seymour said he would not have entertained the idea a month ago, but due to the polls tightening up and showing that National might need two or three support partners, he would entertain the combination.

But he continued to lay into Peters’ character, and when prompted launched back into likening the New Zealand First leader to Mussolini. He also said Epsom voters had given the lowest vote to NZ First last election of all electorates, indicating they appeared pretty keen to not have him in government.

Peters earlier on Thursday had been asked by reporters whether he could work alongside David Seymour in a government. “Look, next question please,” Peters said. “Look, I’m not going to sit here and listen to ridiculous questions in this campaign any more. I’d like you to actually talk about things that might be important. He is not. Next question please,” he said.

If animosity between the two does look like keeping National from getting them both inside the tent, that might perhaps be aided by the fact Seymour has ruled himself out of taking a Cabinet position next term. He told me that now his euthanasia bill had been drawn from the ballot, he would put his effort towards getting that passed while at the same time taking on Under-Secretary roles, which are Ministerial support jobs outside Cabinet.

Below are Seymour’s comments on Peters and Cabinet. We’ll update this article later with more comments from the video interview above, including on house prices and the Resource Management Act.

Working with Winston

I started asking Seymour: “If National needs you and Peters to form a government...?”

He jumped in: “It won’t be National who needs us. It will be the people of New Zealand who want a centre-right government, who need us. That’s who we work for.”

So, he can’t rule it out – he wouldn’t just sit for three years in opposition because he didn’t want to be involved in a government with Peters?

“A month ago, I would have said, ‘no way’. But I think things have tightened up a bit. And if we want to continue to have a centre-right government, then we’re going to have to have at least two parties, and potentially three,” Seymour said.

ACT has shown they can work with the Maori Party, so he’s saying he could work in a Cabinet with Peters – a man Seymour referred to as “Mr Mussolini” in Parliament’s adjournment debate.

“Well, here’s a guy who’s built his whole career on beating up on immigrants, often with racist epithets, and he has his hair slicked back and wears a black pin-striped suit. I mean, what are you supposed to call him?”

Seymour said the deal he has with Epsom voters is that, “voting for me helps ensure stable centre-right government. Keep taxes down, keep the economy growing, keep the Left out. But look, if you consider that Epsom has the lowest vote for New Zealand First out of 71 electorates, you can see how people in Epsom are pretty keen not to have him there.”

On Cabinet:

“I won’t be a Minister this time because the other thing I’ve got to do when I get back to Parliament next week is, actually start pushing for my assisted dying, or euthanasia bill,” Seymour said.

“Remember, the ACT Party is not only fiscally conservative, we’re also socially liberal. I turned down being a Minister in order to have that assisted dying Bill, or End-of-Life Choice Bill, as it’s called, in the ballot. Now that it’s been drawn, I need to get that through,” he said.

“What I’ve found is, I can have enough influence as an Under-Secretary to get our policies over the line, such as partnership schools, because it allows you to be part of the government, get your hands on the tools.”

“If I was truly self-interested I would take the Ministerial post, but the assisted dying issue is a critical moral issue that no one else would put on the agenda. As ACT, that’s what we’ve done.”

More to follow.

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22 Comments

Desperate times call for desperate measures

National next ? National-NZ First-Act coalition of the willing to rule...

Anything for power. Shameless U Turn

What are ACT currently polling? They wouldn't exist but for a cynical application of the MMP rules. Why interview this person?

Because he has done some good work. Charter schools have been a success. Kelvin Davis said he would resign if they closed the two in Northland.

Good work if you are a stakeholder in a chartered school you must be referring to. Yes great to see overfunded Chartered schools at the expense of the state system which would be nice for our children to attend if they were not underfunded as a consequence !!

Actually it is based on the outcomes for the kids. These are kids that fall through the cracks in the existing school system. Doing something different for those kids and investing a bit more in them makes sense. They have not taken a cent off existing schools. If they aren't working why would a Labour MP who belongs to a party that is opposed to them state he would resign. He has proven they have a place. He is also familiar with schools so you would think a well done from him really says something. Should all schools be charter schools? No. Are charter schools the solution to all problems? No. There is however definitely a place for them.

Is that you principal Skinner?

As a long ago ACT Party member let me tell you Seymour is just an opportunist dope
If he's standing for euthanasia it's so he can cling to a base .
As for ACT principles? If Roger is still alive I'm sure he's taking every taxpayer funded piece of welfare for past MPs he can.
Some would say why not ? Those that do are also thin on ethics & character

Biggest error in this article is Seymour claiming NZ First voters want a center-right Government. NZ First is Centralist if not slightly to the left. What NZ First voters are after is a middleman who can bring sense to the lolly scrambles! He has been Treasurer so is well placed to understand the economic reality and the areas that need attention. The core values of New Zealanders which includes the regions.

unbelievable, david has just shown us all his lack of principles. he has spent weeks running around calling nz first everything under the sun and he would not deal with them.
now the writing is on the wall suddenly they are not that bad.
no wonder politicians are now seen as poor quality people, the amount of lies and muck flinging this election leaves a bad taste.
i am glad i voted early so i didn't have to listen and watch the crap that was going on

To be fair, ACT and lack of principles are already pretty synonymous.

Look at the media air time this guy gets..appears just Nationals radical mouth piece..just part of the current establishment...

David Seymour has been extremely principled about his assisted dying bill — including turning down a ministerial post.

Why are you wasting time with this bloke? Hopefully he will not be in parliament after Saturday

[ Offensive slur removed. Ed ]. Maybe that explains why at the last election they got 16,500 votes and will probably get less this election.

I do not thunk Uthenasia-ing Bill, would solve our voter decisions, he might might object.

I do think however, we cannot compete with stupidity any longer, so maybe just vote him out.

I always thought printing and importing money was daft. No matter what Country it comes from.

We should only use our own New Zealand money, not swap it for other Countries paper products, hot off the press.

I thunk it was called "Quantative Easing" by some looney.....loanies.......Loaning it out left, right and centre....

But then....No one mentions that these days....in any Quantity.

Vote to keep us alive, not dead this Election......not puffed up, in Bills name......in Chinese Currency, currently....flooding our shores.

John has already sold out.....taken a quick profit, ..bolted before the stable door shuts......not that it is stable anywhere.....this election.

A fine balance is what is needed between right and wrong and left and right....but I do thing an ALIVE economy is better than just Building..bleedin houses....a dead duck...if some indications ....Happen.

Great news, well done David Seymour

I have wondered for the past few days why Gareth Morgan did not stand against David Seymour in Epsom. That would have been a good fight, with TOP being a better version of ACT.

Have you seen Gareth speak in the flesh?! Anyone who thinks Donald Trump speaks his mind is thinking of a Morgan-Lite version of Gareth! He knows his limitations, and public speaking is one of them. It takes ages for him to warm up, but when he does....he's fascinating to watch. Gareth wouldn't win against Seymour for one reason - he's too honest! (NB: I'm a paid-up TOP member; the first time in my life I've been a member of any Party)

I watched one of his talks today, I hope they manage to get some seats.