Election 2023: David Seymour says ACT candidate liking post about Māori being 'expelled to the Moa Strip' was 'very stupid'

David Seymour says it was "very stupid" for ACT's Dunedin candidate to like a post about Māori being expelled to the "Moa Strip".   

ACT's candidate Tim Newman liked and replied to a commenter on LinkedIn who said Māori might be sent to "the Moa Strip" in reference to the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip.   

The comment was in response to Seymour's post criticising Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta's response to the Israel-Palestine conflict.   

"Cause she's probably behind the Palestinians', violence and anarchy like how Māori and the extreme left are trying to take over New Zealand. I'm surprised she didn't say she felt sorry for the Palestinians as her people had their land stolen too... Extremist Māori might be getting expelled to the Moa strip if they gunna keep targeting New Zealand citizens (sic)..." the comment read.   

Screenshots show Newman liked the comment and replied, "That's hilarious - moa strip (laughing face emoji). Pity they ate them all, that wasn't clever."  

Seymour told reporters on Monday Newman's comment was stupid and not funny. He said the candidate had deleted the post and apologised.   

"I don't think that's funny at all. It was a very stupid thing for Tim to do and he's apologised and deleted it," Seymour said.   

"It's clearly not good enough but having said that, this was a clearly stupid thing to do and the challenge New Zealand faces is significant and I don't think someone liking a post is the major issue we face today."  

Tim Newman is the party's Dunedin candidate.
Tim Newman is the party's Dunedin candidate. Photo credit: LinkedIn

Newshub has contacted Newman for comment about the post.   

It's not the first time ACT has dealt with controversy surrounding its candidates. In August, Seymour was forced to defend his party's vetting process after a candidate resigned over a comment they posted likening the vaccine mandate rollout to Nazi concentration camps.  

Elaine Naidu Franz was the party's Rangitata candidate and 29th on the party list.   

In response to a LinkedIn post by Seymour around a year ago, 1News reports Franz said: "If you are wondering how the Nazis were able to come into power and do all the horrific things that they did, well you are looking at the start of the process right here. So Mr Seymour, when can we expect those who are unvaccinated to start wearing armbands? When can we expect to see concentration camps and re-education camps? When can we start expecting to see troops on our streets rounding up people?"  

In another post, she said Seymour needed to "have the balls to front up to the people outside [Parliament]".  

Seymour said her comments were "unacceptable" and she has since resigned.   

"That's absolutely unacceptable and as I've said that person will no longer be a candidate for the Act Party."  

It came after another candidate, Darren Gilchrist, apologised for social media comments incorrectly linking drowning to the COVID-19 vaccine.   

According to 1News, 20 months ago Gilchrist posted on Telegram: "Well over 40 drownings this summer so far. Given the jab side effects of myocarditis/heart attacks, and blood clotting, I'm thinking there is a likely link to jabs."  

In another post Gilchrist, who was ACT's candidate for Waikato, referred to former Prime Minister Dame Jacinda Ardern as "Jabcinda".   

Gilchrist apologised for his comments and stood down shortly afterwards citing personal reasons.