Transcript: ACT Party leader David Seymour

  • 19/09/2015
ACT Party leader David Seymour
ACT Party leader David Seymour

Patrick Gower: Well, we've heard from the four largest polling parties this morning, but we thought we'd also squeeze in a few minutes with the MP dubbed 'Parliament's most improved player'. ACT leader David Seymour is with me in the studio, and good morning, Mr Seymour.

David Seymour: Good morning.

Should that be coq-a-doodle-doo?

Well, good morning either way. However you like it.

David Seymour, you know, you're here as a wild card, but it has been a hell of a year for you, I will admit that. But let's face it — ACT's been a cop case; Epsom's been a joke. How did you fix it all up?

Well, look, let's just say we started with a defensive five metre scrum, and now we're probably up to having a 22 drop out. We've got a lot of work to do from where we've come from, but I just try to show up every day and show that I can actually be a useful politician that represents voters' views, and hopefully over the next couple of years, that will actually grow ACT's support while I'm a good MP in Epsom and they will re-elect me too.

Now, rather populous views, really, because the Red Peak, pubs opening for the footy, these aren't core ACT policies. I mean, it's populist headline hunting, isn't it? It's getting yourself on the news.

Well, that's what your channel chooses to cover. However, the most important thing in my daily work is actually Partnership Schools Kura Hourua. We're going to open more of those. I visit those schools, and I see them innovating and actually allowing kids to feel good about themselves to get skills, qualifications, jobs, careers and so-on. That's the most important thing. And we're achieving more of Roger Douglas' original ACT vision with Partnership Schools than ACT ever achieved, and I'm very proud of that.

Sure, and so will Sir Roger. Now, here is a hypothetical scenario for you about these pubs. Someone wants the pubs to sell them extra booze. There's some big problem, something bad happens — will you take responsibility for that?

No, I won't, because your question assumes that the state is responsible for everybody, and that if somebody does something stupid, it's because the government didn't make a rule to stop them. My view is that New Zealanders are free and responsible people on the whole, and we shouldn't constantly be punished for the misdemeanours of the minority. Having said that, I hope that it's going to be a joyous festival and that New Zealanders will show that the nanny staters and the naysayers were wrong. We can enjoy ourselves responsibly. I saw the Edinburgh pub just up the road opening earlier. It's been fantastic.

Sure. You're Under Secretary now. Do you want to be a minister this term? Because John Key's kind of offered that. Would you take that up? Do you want to be a minister this term?

In a sense, it's something, if you get offered, you can't really refuse.

You can.

But I— Well, I'm not sure what the convention is. I enjoy being an under-secretary, because it allows me to get my hands on the tools of Partnership Schools and regular—

So if he offers you being a minister, you won't refuse it?

It'd be difficult to refuse it. I understand that's the convention.

All right. Now, where in your mind — and coming back to that drop-goal, that 22 metre drop-goal you're talking about — where is National weak? Where can ACT take votes off National?

You saw Steven Joyce this morning ducking and diving around the economic figures, and I think that this Government actually needs to be more robust on the economy. I think that it can help National. So why can't we drop company taxes when we have the highest taxes and capital in the OECD almost? Where has RMA reform gone? It's missing in action. What about infrastructure, particularly around the top half of the North Island? What about indexing tax rates to inflation for families who are paying more and more every year as they stealthily creep into higher tax brackets? But also for younger generations. John Key said he's not going to move on Super. Well, I'm sorry, but for our generation, you're looking at five workers per retiree now; two workers per retiree by the time current university students retire.

You think there's a genuine weakness around superannuation?

I believe that for our generation, there certainly is.

Thank you very much. That's all we've got time for.

Oh, well, thank you.

Transcript provided by Able. www.able.co.nz

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