ACT leader David Seymour confident he can persuade coalition partners to back Treaty Principles Bill

  • 29/01/2024

ACT leader David Seymour is confident he can persuade his coalition partners to back his controversial Treaty Principles Bill.  

ACT wanted a referendum on the Treaty of Waitangi's principles but instead National agreed a bill will be introduced and supported to the Select Committee stage. 

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said National had no plans to support the bill past the first reading, but hasn't ruled it out. NZ First has also indicated it won't support it after the first reading. Despite this, Seymour remains confident he can change his coalition partners' minds. 

"Well, that's actually what I've done before," Seymour told AM's political panel.  

"I did that with end-of-life choice [bill], and people actually forget the times during that five-year campaign… when people said 'it's all over', 'why are you doing it?' Now it went through, and people forgot about those times."  

Seymour said whether the Bill progresses depends on what the public sentiment towards it is.  

"I suspect… people are going to recognise that we do have more division than we'd like in this country, that the real solution, the balm for division, is discussion," Seymour said.  

However, Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick, who appeared alongside Seymour on AM's political panel on Monday, said the treaty bill is "reductive and divisive rhetoric".   

"If we want to have that deliberate democracy process where we are talking about our constitutional foundation, what that looks like in the 21st century, then let's do this, but that is not that," Swarbrick said, gesturing towards Seymour.  

Seymour said there's "no doubt" the draft bill will change after people have input on it.  

"What we are proposing is really a conversation about something that has been largely decided behind closed doors for 40 years."  

Watch the full panel above.