How ACT's alternative Budget turned into Parliamentary pile-on

ACT leader David Seymour has been served a sledging by his Parliamentary colleagues with Labour's Willie Jackson calling him a useless Māori - and Te Paati Māori went one further.

Jackson started his Tuesday with an absolute unleashing.

"It's a bit sad watching Seymour, a man who claimed he was Māori. You just don't know where he's coming from now," the Māori Development Minister said. 

Jackson was only warming up with his Seymour sledging segment.

"Absolutely deliberately dog-whistling… just a useless Māori," he said of the ACT leader. 

Asked if he identified as a useless Māori, Seymour said on Tuesday that he was proud of his Māori whakapapa. 

Te Paati Māori also joined the Parliamentary pile-on of Seymour, who they sit next to in the House. 

"David Seymour is a disgrace. He uses his Māori whakapapa to weaponise against his own people," said co-leader Rawiri Waititi. 

What sparked the Parliamentary pile-on was the hefty cuts in Seymour's alternative Budget, like scrapping the Ministries for Women, Māori Development, Pacific Peoples, Ethnic Communities, the Office for Crown-Māori Relations and the Human Rights Commission.

"We shouldn't need whole ministries to represent types of humans," he said on Tuesday.

National's coming under pressure over what policies they'd pick from their potential coalition partner, but ACT's great ministry cull has been ruled out. National leader Christopher Luxon has said "that's not our policy".

Seymour wasn't the only MP to draw Jackson's ire on Tuesday. He also served Dr Shane Reti a rebuke for saying Māori health inequities - i.e. that Māori live on average seven years less than non-Māori - should be seen in the context of the last two centuries.

"The life expectancy in 1840, for Māori it was 30 years. Today, it's 73.4 years so over time there have been improvements," Dr Reti told The Hui on Monday.

Dr Reti said on Tuesday that it's not an argument against the new Māori Health Authority. 

"It's an argument for respecting the work that's been done that brings us through to this point," he said. 

But Jackson said that's "nonsense" even though he said he respects Dr Reti. 

A respected Dr Reti was still not immune from Jackson's Tuesday tirade.

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