Election 2023: ACT's David Seymour calls on New Zealand First to 'front up' and declare what it wants

ACT leader David Seymour is calling on New Zealand First to "front up" and say what it wants the new government to achieve as coalition negotiations become the new focus.   

On November 3 Aotearoa will have a clear picture of what its new government will look like, with half a million special votes to be counted by then.   

Seymour believes the "right way to proceed" would be for National and ACT to negotiate with each other first before calling in NZ First leader Winston Peters.   

He told AM the three parties should prepare for both situations - a three-way coalition or a National and ACT one.   

"I think ultimately we look at the prospect of a three-way negotiation, we welcome all voices to the table."  

The ACT leader told AM if New Zealand First wants to be a part of that discussion, then they "should front up" and declare what they want the new government to achieve and what they can contribute to it.  

If New Zealand First don't want that, Seymour told AM ACT and National should "hammer out a deal" before the special votes come in.  

"I think the New Zealand people will expect us to be ready to hit the ground running when that three weeks is up."  

He fears if some sort of deal is not struck by November 3, then Kiwis could be waiting another month before knowing.   

"Then it's basically Christmas time, before people get action that they voted for."  

If National and ACT don't need New Zealand First, Seymour wants both parties to keep to their strong commitment made during the campaign – to govern without Peters.   

But he said both scenarios should be explored.  

"We can prepare for both of those scenarios beforehand."  

He added Kiwis expect a coalition announcement to be made within weeks after the special votes are counted.   

It comes after Peters swung open the door to National and ACT on election night. 

"If we can help going forward, we will."   

Deputy Prime Minister David Seymour? 

It doesn't appear Seymour is chomping at the bit to become deputy Prime Minister. When asked by AM's Ryan Bridge, he said what matters more than which seat you're sitting on in the bus, is "where the bus is going".  

"I'd like to think that I'm driven by what we can achieve rather than the status. At the end of the day, you know, being a minister or deputy Prime Minister, I mean that comes and goes, what stays is the policies you put in place."  

Seymour said ACT does want ministers in cabinet, but again said the "bus", or the government, needs to be heading in the right direction.  

"As long as we have a government that has the policy direction right, then absolutely." 

During the campaign trail ACT's Karen Chhour told AM she would want to become the Minister for Children and Seymour believes "she'd be brilliant".  

"Number one, and frankly she's got the moral authority having suffered through that system herself, but number two she's not just someone who said, 'I was a victim and therefore', she's someone who's actually done the work over three years." 

Watch the full interview above for more.