Cracks begin to appear in Government as David Seymour suggests Christopher Luxon was spooked into ruling out Treaty Principles Bill

Cracks are already appearing in the Coalition Government, with ACT leader David Seymour suggesting Prime Minister Christopher Luxon was spooked into ruling out support for the Treaty of Waitangi Principles Bill after visiting Waitangi last week.  

Seymour said he doesn't believe Luxon would hold to that promise if there was a groundswell of public support for the bill.   

It comes after Seymour suggested on AM on Thursday Luxon's got the Waitangi wobbles.   

"I think perhaps he got a bit nervous after Waitangi," Seymour said. 

Luxon denied that suggestion. 

"Nervous? I wouldn't say that," he told reporters on Thursday. 

Christopher Luxon and David Seymour at the Iwi Chairs Forum last week.
Christopher Luxon and David Seymour at the Iwi Chairs Forum last week. Photo credit: Newshub.

On Wednesday, Luxon unequivocally ruled out supporting Seymour's Treaty Principles Bill past its first reading.  

Seymour said he simply doesn't believe the Prime Minister. 

"I mean, last week he wouldn't rule out supporting it further, yesterday he would," Seymour told AM. 

"Ultimately, the bit I don't believe is that he won't change his mind if the public really want it," he said.  

But Luxon responded it was "highly unlikely". 

"The National Party position is rock solid," he added. "It's our long-held position, we have positions on things and policies on... a range of topics that the public may have a different view on but that's what we believe."  

Asked if he was willing to stake his job on sticking to his guns, Luxon said: "Look, well, I'm just telling you our position which is that the National Party's [position of] not supporting it - it's been a long-held position." 

Seymour believes "we've been here before". 

"At the start of the John Key Government, ACT introduced the three strikes idea - National at the time said, 'Oh no, never - it's just not going to happen.'" 

Even when it comes to timing, Luxon and Seymour don't agree. 

"Ultimately, it's not about what I think or what Chris thinks or what we say right now - it's where the public are at in maybe a years' time when this thing comes up," Seymour said.

"We'll go through a six month Select Committee process and the thing would be wrapped up by the end of the year," said Luxon. 

Despite walking side by side on Waitangi Treaty grounds earlier this week, Luxon and his Coalition partner are getting further apart on a key part of their Government's agenda.