Election 2023: ACT's David Seymour says there is 'a case' for him to be deputy Prime Minister

ACT leader David Seymour has doubled down on his claim to the deputy Prime Minister role, saying he would be "very honoured" to have it.   

It comes as coalition negotiations have moved into a 19th day but could be nearing an end, with decisions on who will sit where the only thing remaining.  

Incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced on Monday there was a major development in coalition talks, saying he had policy deals with partnership parties NZ First and ACT, with just ministerial positions left to be decided on. There are now reports that a deal could be signed on Thursday.   

With ACT having a larger share of seats than NZ First, Seymour made a play for the deputy Prime Minister job on Tuesday, a position New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has stayed tight-lipped on publicly.  

When asked on AM on Wednesday morning if he wanted to be deputy Prime Minister, Seymour said it's a role he could do and there is a case for him to do it.   

"Having said that, we are engaged in quite a wide-ranging negotiation about what the government looks like and I've always said there are two parts to this," he said.   

"There is where the bus is going and that is the policy, the second part is who sits where on the bus... then it comes down to the next question of do we have the right number of seats and the right number of people there."    

But when he was pressed by AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green if it was a role he "wants to do", the ACT Party leader said he would be "very honoured" to have the job.   

"I always say facts are friendly, I have outlined some of the parameters of what the government looks like and how people voted and so on but ultimately, we make sure the bus is going in the right direction, then work out who is sitting in which seat," he said.   

"That has to be based around people having the skills, the right passions to get the results because if you focus on what you want in terms of a position and you don't get the results for the people that put you there, you might find in three years' time they decide to try someone else and that means we won't be achieving the things we think are best for New Zealand."   

However, Seymour is among tough competition, likely going head-to-head with Peters - who's done the job twice before – and National's Nicola Willis.   


When asked if he would be open to a co-deputy role, Seymour told the show it's not something he's thought about.   

"Lots of people have speculated about that and I heard somebody say that in Fiji they actually have three deputy Prime Ministers, I'm not sure they've always been the model of democracy that New Zealand is trying to follow but I guess you could start speculating there are different arrangements and so on," he said.   

Seymour was also asked if the deputy Prime Minister was to come from the ACT party if it had to be him.   

He told AM there have been scenarios in the past that show it doesn't have to be the highest person in the party.   

"Those are open possibilities. I guess it would be more usual that the leader of the party would be in the most senior position but again you can have these discussions," he said.  

"In the past, the Labour Party had Kelvin Davis, who was the deputy leader of the Labour Party, in theory, should've been the most senior person but wasn't, the Deputy Prime Minister was Grant Robertson. There could be all sorts of reasons for that but I just make the point people get very fixated on this stuff, but in reality, they're going to be more worried about where the bus is going and that's what I think people are going to be really eager for all of politics to get focused back on very quickly." 

Watch the full interview with David Seymour in the video above.