National needs MMP-savvy leader, claims David Seymour

  • 20/02/2018
Bill English
Former PM Bill English. Photo credit: Getty

Former Prime Minister Bill English didn't understand the MMP election system and his replacement must if the party wants to get back into power, ACT leader David Seymour says.

While he declined to say who his pick in National's leadership race was on Tuesday, Mr Seymour said the only thing that mattered to his party was that whoever got the job "understands MMP".

"Bill English, frankly, didn't,” he said. “He was the last leader of the first-past-the-post period," he said.

"The next leader of the National Party has to understand that we govern in coalitions in New Zealand and they're going to have to be prepared to work with coalition partners.

"The failure to do that is why the National Party is not in government right now."

It echoed comments Mr Seymour made during last year's election that National was ignoring the realities of the electoral system by telling people to cut out the middle man by not voting for minority parties.

With former coalition partners the Maori Party and United Future out of Parliament, and ACT lingering on a single seat, National would need nearly half the vote to take power in 2020 unless it can strike a deal with another party.

ACT currently holds a single electoral seat - Epsom in Auckland - under a deal with National and only received 0.5 per cent of the party vote in 2017.