Discussions of coalition between ACT and National get testy as policy gulf grows

Coalition negotiations between ACT and National could get testy as the policy gulf between the two parties grows. 

National's not keen on ACT's flagship policies and ACT leader David Seymour's refusing to reveal what his bottom lines are. 

Meet David Seymour, the actor, portraying Sir Edmund Hillary in a 1997 documentary A View from the Top.

As a student of Auckland Grammar, Seymour portrayed the role of the mountaineer's early years.

"I found it a very trying experience," Seymour said.

"I was this precocious 12-year-old doing this day of acting, and he actually gave me the time of day, gave me around 20 minutes," he said. 

And if Hillary were alive today, Seymour thinks he'd give him something else.

"Who knows, maybe Sir Edmund Hillary would be voting ACT today."

However, it's a different type of climb ahead for Seymour, and if he gets to the top, that's where it gets tricky.

"What are your bottom lines? Your non-negotiables?" Newshub asked.

"Our view is no one wants people to say, 'Look these are our bottom lines, these are the exact point we will throw our toys out of the cot'," Seymour responded.

That makes it hard for ACT voters if their favourite policy, and the reason they voted for ACT, gets ditched during the transaction.

"Does that mean that everything is negotiable then?" Newshub asked.

"It's also negotiable on their side," he said.

So Newshub decided to test how negotiable National would be.

National leader Christopher Luxon was asked the following questions:

Would you abolish fees-free? "No," he responded.

Would you abolish first home grant? "Ah no."

Would you halt Super Fund contributions? "Ah no that's not our policy. "

Would you sell Landcorp? "Not our policy."

Would you abolish Callaghan Innovation? "Not our policy."

Would you abolish all film subsidies? "Not our policy."

Would you abolish R&D grants and tax credits? "Not our policy."

Would you scrap the Climate Change Commission? "Not our policy."

Would you scrap the Clean Car discount? "Well, we've just talked about that today."

The parties don't have a lot in common, and even where they do, like co-governance, there are differences.

"We don't believe in co-governance of public services, we are one country," he said.

"You've got to be a bit nuanced about this, co-governance, in the case of Auckland's volcanic cone, is something that has by and large worked out," Seymour said.

ACT also wants to partially sell the likes of Kiwibank and KiwiRail.

"No, asset sales is not something we're focussed on and not interested in," Luxon said.

And they also want to shut four ministries, two commissions, and one office.

"These are all hypothetical questions and we'll deal with that in Government," he said.

But Seymour might not even let them get there.

"We're not here to take the baubles of office, you know, we won't take positions and sell out and then implement bad policy."

National won't be able to walk away as easily from the ACT Party when power is on the table.