David Seymour promises you'll 'lose your proverbial' when you see his Chinese New Year video

David Seymour says people are going to lose the "proverbial" when they see his Chinese New Year video.

The ACT Party leader's been distributing a pamphlet wishing a 'new year's greetings' to members of the Chinese community, complete with a photo of Seymour wearing Chinese-style clothes and playing a traditional Chinese instrument, the guqin. 

An image of the pamphlet was uploaded to web forum Reddit by a user who found it "in the letter box".

Some thought it wasn't real, perhaps satire.

"I honestly thought this was a joke," wrote one user. 

Seymour himself joined the conversation to confirm the pamphlet is real.

"You guys are going to lose your proverbial when you see the accompanying video," he wrote. "It's really very simple, I value the people I represent, and send a variety of cards and messages throughout the year to show it. At the moment it is Chinese [new year]."

The Epsom MP told Newshub the photo is real too.

"Some fantastic friends actually brought the instrument in and they set it up and tried to teach me how to play it. I think it was about as successful as playing guitar, but we had some good fun."

He also plays the instrument in the video, which is currently circulating on Chinese social media app WeChat, but says the music has been clearly overdubbed.

According to census data, about a third of the population in Seymour's Epsom electorate identify as Asian. Slightly more than a third were born in northeast Asia, defined as China, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

Some critics on Reddit called the pamphlet "pandering" and "begging for Chinese votes".

"Looks a bit blunt in its message rather than subtle or respectful," said one person. 

Others came to Seymour's defence. One said he looked "pretty gangsta", and another said it was common for politicians to target messages at specific communities.

"Seymour's district has a significant minority population of elderly Chinese first generation immigrants, a fair amount of have only limited English skills," one person wrote. "An advert targeting this group, with a bit of traditional Chinese imagery is just how politics works."

Others noted Seymour has shown support for China's breakaway province Taiwan in the past, and last year publicly accused the Chinese government of "interfering in the internal affairs of New Zealand, contravening diplomatic conventions to which the People's Republic of China is a signatory". 

Seymour told Newshub he couldn't understand why anyone would be offended.

"If you care about people - and I do care about my friends and constituents in the Epsom electorate who are Chinese - it pays from time to time to show you care... I also send out Hanukkah cards, Christmas cards, generally go to Waitangi, i also go to Christian festivals, a popular Christian festival called Easter... the Indian festival Diwali."

He said his criticism of the Chinese leadership shouldn't be confused with his support of the Chinese community here in New Zealand.

"There's a huge number of Chinese people in New Zealand who feel the same. This is about the Chinese culture."

Chinese New Year this year falls on January 25. It shifts each year with the moon.