David Seymour uses Make Aotearoa Great Again slogan, denies embracing Donald Trump's ideas


Borrowing Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan does not mean adopting the US president's ideas on policy, says ACT leader David Seymour.

Seymour has announced a "Make Aotearoa Great Again" event for Waitangi Day - a clear reference to Trump's theme for his 2016 presidential campaign.

Seymour told Morning Report that the MAGA message was probably the most successful campaign slogan of the last few years.

Because America and Aotearoa both begin with A "we thought we'd have a bit of fun", Seymour said.

He's not worried that it is also proving controversial.

"It has achieved something... [it's] revealed we live in such censorious times and times where outrage is so perpetual that even an allusion to Donald Trump sends some people into conniptions and I think that so long as that's the case it's going to be very difficult to actually debate the real issues that face New Zealand."

His State of the Nation speech would cover productivity, education inequality and housing supply - areas where New Zealand needed to do a lot better.

However, it was unlikely such themes would have gained much traction in the media without the reference to Trump's campaign slogan.

He said while some found it offensive, others objected to ACT using Aotearoa as the name of the country.

Many people in middle New Zealand could see the joke but it was "a massive overreach" to say we're looking to Donald Trump for ideas.

"We actually need to talk about issues that are important to New Zealand and I think by doing this we've provoked the fact that it's very difficult in the world where so many people dominate the agenda on frankly minutiae and I'm glad that we've done it.

"It's brought attention to our event and it means we can actually start talking about those real issues and I'm looking forward to it."

Seymour said there was no plan to also sell Trump's distinctive red caps but T-shirts were a possibility.