ACT leader David Seymour says 'a lot' of customs, traditions at Waitangi designed to 'intimidate'

ACT Party leader David Seymour believes some of the customs and traditions at Waitangi are designed to "intimidate" people.  

It comes after the ACT leader received an at-times frosty reception at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, at one point being drowned out by a protest waiata.  

Seymour joined AM on Monday morning and told the show a lot of people like that he "respectfully" stands by his values despite being in a challenging environment. 

He used Waitangi as an example, saying "a lot" of the customs and traditions are designed to "intimidate you".  

When pressed about his comment about Waitangi being designed to "intimidate" people, Seymour said from his experience "a lot of the customs are literally challenges".   

"A lot of the tikanga, for example, the laying down of the wero. I mean, that is literally a challenge," he said.   

"A lot of the debates on the marae is really face-to-face, not unlike the set-up that you have in a Parliament," he told AM.  

"So, yes, it is a challenging environment, literally and metaphorically but the message we get is people like that you've got a set of values and you clearly and politely articulate them respectfully but firmly."   

The conversation on AM came about after a new political poll showed ACT's support rising amid the lead-up to and over Waitangi Day.  

The latest New Zealand Taxpayers' Union-Curia poll was carried out between February 1-7, a period dominated by two political events - Waitangi Day and shock resignations inside the Green Party.  

The poll results showed a surge in support for ACT - up 5.6 points to 13.7 percent.   

ACT Party leader David Seymour on AM on Monday morning.
ACT Party leader David Seymour on AM on Monday morning. Photo credit: AM

"I think polls matter in the long-term trend, so people will say, 'Oh, this is big news and it shows this and that'. It may do, it may be that people have reacted to the news over the last week. Certainly, the messages I've been getting, they like that we stand for something," Seymour told AM.  

But on the other side of the political spectrum, the poll showed a slump in support for the Green Party after both Golriz Ghahraman and James Shaw announced they were resigning from their roles.  

The Greens were down substantially to 9.0 percent – a drop of 4.8 points.   

Greens MP Chlöe Swarbrick joined AM alongside Seymour on Monday morning and played down the significance of the poll results.   

"People should not watch the polls but realise we are the polls. These are not a self-fulfilling prophecy. They only become that if people take them as destiny," she said.  

"I think it's also important to just from a data and analytical perspective to take polls with a grain of salt and to put them in the context of the broader trend of polls. This one seems to go against that trend. So if we had to kind of bundle a few of them together, that do come out in the next few weeks, then I think that we'll have a greater sense of where things are and where sentiment is out there in the community."  

Watch the full interview in the video above.