David Seymour slams Jacinda Ardern over Christchurch Call summit, says PM's focus should be on local issues

David Seymour has hit out at Jacinda Ardern over this week's Christchurch Call summit, saying she should be focusing on local problems.

It comes after a joint initiative under the banner of the Christchurch Call was announced on Wednesday between New Zealand, the United States, Twitter and Microsoft to create new technology to understand the impact of algorithms on users' online experiences. 

The Christchurch Call was developed in the aftermath of the March 15 terror attack to coordinate the work of governments, technology companies and other organisations on eliminating online violent extremist content. 

Ardern told media on Wednesday the Christchurch Call leaders summit in New York is a "centrepiece for New Zealand".

Speaking to AM Early on Thursday, ACT leader Seymour said Ardern's contribution to the UN General Assembly has been "negligible" and believes her time is better used elsewhere.

"You look at things like the Christchurch Call, you can just imagine a global tech giant who actually did get those videos on March 15 taken down as rapidly as humanly possible and along comes Jacinda Ardern with her Christchurch Call telling them how to suck eggs," Seymour told host Bernadine Oliver-Kerby. 

"I suspect they probably have a bit of a chuckle at her and really it's truly pathetic that we have a Prime Minister who spends all this time ineffectually grandstanding while people are getting robbed at home, and her Government can't even dish out support for businesses under that sort of pressure."

Ram raids have spiked this year, with Police Minister Chris Hipkins revealing in Parliament last month there had been 129 ram raids since May.

When questioned by ACT about the spike in ram-raids, Hipkins told the House 38 offenders had been identified or arrested with "almost all of these people are under 18 years old, and their median age was 15".

It comes after a group of offenders stormed the Stewart Dawsons jewellery store in the Westfield Shopping Centre on Tuesday afternoon.  

Footage of the smash-and-grab shows the group smashing several glass cabinets before fleeing the scene with stolen goods.

Seymour, the MP for Auckland's Epsom electorate, said the Government isn't doing enough to support local businesses that are getting targeted by ram-raids and smash-and-grabs.  

"I mean, sadly, as a local MP in Epsom, one of the first things I do when I get back to Auckland, some if not most weeks, is to go and visit the businesses in the Epsom electorate that have most recently been raided or robbed, as they say. The only thing that seems to be stopping it is target hardening."

David Seymour says Jacinda Ardern should focus on local issues rather than the Christchurch Call.
David Seymour says Jacinda Ardern should focus on local issues rather than the Christchurch Call. Photo credit: Am

Seymour said protective measures do help once they're installed but the criteria to be eligible needs to be simplified.

"I visited a dairy that got robbed six times in five months, hasn't been robbed for five months, mainly because of the extra hard enough put in place. But for the most part, getting consents to put up bollards from the council has stopped them," Seymour told AM Early. 

"Getting funding out of the Government has been an absolute wild goose chase where they can't apply. They've got to wait for the police to talk to them and the police will only give you something if you've already been ram-raided."

Watch the full interview with David Seymour above.