ACT leader David Seymour refuses to apologise for 'clearly not serious' Guy Fawkes 'joke'

ACT leader David Seymour is refusing to apologise for his Guy Fawkes "joke" about the Ministry for Pacific Peoples. 

On Thursday Seymour told Newstalk ZB he would keep his pledge to abolish the Ministry of Pacific Peoples, partly because of a recent report which revealed the Ministry had spent $40,000 on a farewell party

"In my fantasy, we'd send a guy called Guy Fawkes in there and it'd be all over, but we'll probably have to have a more formal approach than that."

Guy Fawkes was an English Catholic who attempted and failed to blow up Westminster Palace in London in 1605.

Seymour added what he said was "clearly a joke" but has since been in hot water about his comments

On Friday, former AM Show host Duncan Garner spoke with Seymour on his podcast 'Duncan Garner Editor In Chief'.

Seymour said he wanted to be "clear" that his party does not have a policy of "exhuming a 400-year-old folk hero/villain who failed to blow up Parliament, and sending him into Government departments if we win the election".

"I just want to be really clear about that in case anyone…just in case anyone took that too seriously."

Garner told Seymour some people have taken offence to what he said and asked if he wanted to apologise or if he felt the need to. Seymour didn't. 

"If I had to apologise for that, we're living in a world where you can't say anything, where you make a joke and everyone piles onto you. People are just sick of it like it's so clearly not serious."

Seymour doubled down, saying if people can't figure out what he said was clearly a "joke", "we're making ourselves hostage to the wowsers and the naysayers and the people who drain all the joy from life".

The ACT leader told Garner he has made the same "quip I don't know dozens, probably hundreds of times" about Government departments at public meetings. 

Seymour said the "joke" surrounding Government departments is met with those attending saying "'hahah'."

"Then we talk about serious stuff about how you actually restructure the public service. Unfortunately, now you can't have the joke and you can't have the serious discussion."

Among other politicians, former National Minister of Pacific Peoples Alfred Ngaro took a swing at Seymour too.

In a tweet on Thursday evening, Ngaro said "David's fantasy is to bomb the only Ministry for Pacific people to have a voice and view in the governance decisions of our nation".

"To excuse this as a joke is not only insulting but he'll be telling us next that he has a Pacific neighbour who helps clean his house," Ngaro's tweet read.