Election 2023: David Seymour, Winston Peters mean tweets

They entered Parliament more than three decades apart and are essentially sworn enemies, but Winston Peters and David Seymour now will likely have to work together.     

National and ACT only have a one-seat majority based on the preliminary results. With special votes still to come in – they typically go the way of Labour and the Greens – National and ACT may need New Zealand First to form a Government.    

Given this likelihood, one could have expected Seymour and Peters to have talked to one another since being re-elected on October 14.  But they haven't, as revealed by Seymour on AM on October 24.    

Given the frost hasn't started to thaw between the pair, Newshub has collated some of the Twitter barbs they've fired at each other over the years.    

Seymour's strikes    

"If Winston Peters feels so strongly about moving to Alert Level 1, he should walk out of Cabinet. Of course, he won't. He's happy to take the baubles of office and go fishing." – May 28, 2020.

  • Seymour shared this tweet amid friction in the then-Cabinet. Then-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had announced New Zealand would remain at alert level 2 for a month, but then-deputy Prime Minister Peters said the process of going down levels was taking too long. 

"Winston Peters won't pander to the woke brigade. He'll put them in power." - June 19, 2020.    

  • David Seymour fired up the ACT Party graphics team for this one. With his tweet, he released an accompanying video that was a slideshow of pictures of Winston Peters, Jacinda Ardern and James Shaw. Text on the video mostly repeated his tweet, but with the words WOKE BRIGADE and POWER in red.     

"Winston Peters' swansong promise to slash immigration is tragic. Peters himself will soon be retired and will require a care worker to help him get dressed and go for a walk. He'll discover that such facilities can't function without migrant workers." - July 20, 2020    

  • An all-timer of the Seymour v Peters genre, as is the New Zealand First leader's reply. Seymour below.    

"On Winston Peters' last ever day in Parliament, he conceded he's been impotent inside Cabinet. Peters condemned his own Govt's response to Covid, but he is 1 of 7 members of the Covid Cabinet Committee and the Deputy PM. It's unsurprising his ideas haven't been taken seriously." - September 2, 2020.    

  • Little did Seymour know that while Peters may have exited Parliament in 2020 for three years, when he came back in 2023, they were likely to be in Government together.    

Winston's whacks    

"The PM told NZ'ers his govt will not become arrogant with power, yet he is considering giving new ACT MP David Seymour a ministerial role" - September, 24, 2014   

  • This was Winston's first barbed tweet directed at Seymour and it came after he was elected as ACT's sole MP in 2014. It is true John Key was considering giving Seymour a ministerial or under secretary role but Seymour declined to focus on his euthanasia bill.     

"Parliament's toy MP David Seymour should try and be original and stop stealing another party's policy" - June 13, 2016   

  • Peters' tweet from June 2016 was referring to Seymour's stance on vetting refugees which aligned with NZ First's position. The tweet linked to a press release where Peters said of Seymour: "Being a secretive admirer of New Zealand First is no excuse for plagiarising that party's leader's statements".     

"I've spent much of my career respecting and working for retirees. You seem to want to euthanise them. As for your nasty comments about my physical - I reckon you'd last ten seconds in the ring with me. There'd be three hits - you hitting me, me hitting you, and the ambulance hitting 100. Thank your lucky stars I'm not into physical violence."  - July 20, 2020   

  • Peters' reply to Seymour's tweet about him needing a care worker. Peters would often challenge an opponent who's criticised his age to some form of physical test.   

"Adjournment debate: David Seymour reminds me of a chihuahua at the front gate barking at every cat, human being or fellow dog that passes by" - August 17, 2017   

  • This was sent on August 17, 2017, when ACT was in government with National and before Peters anointed Ardern as PM. The tweet prompted a retort from Seymour: "Really? In that case how does it feel being kept out of Government by a Chihuahua?".