Fireside chat with David Seymour

ACT Party Leader David Seymour.

The Weekend Sun has a warm spot by the fire, at Number 1 The Strand, for politicians to stop by and share their ideas ahead of the upcoming election. First up is Act leader David Seymour.

David’s Twitter spat with Winston Peters this week following an immigration announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister reflects his disdain for NZ First.

“You look at their provincial growth fund. All the money has gone to Northland to try and win a seat.

“That’s banana republic stuff,” says Seymour, from his spot on the leather couch.

“ACT proposes a partnership between government and every region to build infrastructure over a 30 year time period. That would see places like the Bay of Plenty that are really growing get the infrastructure the taxpayers are paying for.

“Regional partnerships are a massive opportunity. Infrastructure New Zealand promotes them, councils don't have enough money, and central government doesn't know what local people need. By partnering together, you get funding, accountability and a long-term perspective with local knowledge all together to build the infrastructure for every region of New Zealand, not just the one region New Zealand First think they can win.”

Despite Tauranga being an attractive place to live, he says housing affordability is challenging.

“It’s hard for the younger generation to build houses here. Too much red tape and not enough infrastructure funding, making growth too difficult.”

He notes that it’s “appropriate we’ve got a builder”, Cameron Luxton, standing as the ACT Party candidate for the Tauranga electorate, and marketing manager Bruce Carley standing for the Bay of Plenty.

His plan for education means that the $250,000 per citizen spent by Government over a lifetime would be paid at $12,000 per annum into the person’s bank account for the first 16 years of life and not trickled through bureaucracies. The remainder would then be deposited to be used for tertiary training and be available for lifelong learning.

Seymour also wants to see smarter health spending.

“The DHB model has been a failure. We have too many, they’re just not sophisticated enough to do the job and most of them are in huge deficit.”

He proposes reducing the total number of DHBs to six.

“People are worried about debt. What’s realistic is a much larger ACT party with a bigger voice for people that want to reduce government spending. The best way to get more ACT MPs is to get more party votes.”

Proud of his Maori heritage, he chooses not to make a big thing of it.

“It’s part of who I am. I'm very comfortable in a modern New Zealand. ACT’s freedom-oriented policies are good for Maori because they're good for everybody.”

He has one very certain election promise.

“Tell everyone if you vote for me I won't dance again. In fact, if it wasn't for so many people texting in and voting for me [on Dances with the Stars], I would have finished dancing earlier.”

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