In a year-end roundtable with Newsroom, ACT Party leader David Seymour discusses the difficulty of opposing government agendas.
Labor came to power “surprisingly ready to carry out its policy agenda”, making it almost impossible to get in the way of the government.
This is due to David Seymour, who, along with other members of the ACT, has been struggling for over two years to crush the one-party government.
“It’s been incredibly difficult to stop the government agenda. If you look at the three waters, look at healthcare reform. Until very recently, there was the ANZ public media merger,” he says.
During the first two years of this term, the ACT and National failed to dampen Labor policy. Remember, just one year after Jacinda Ardern took office as prime minister, the last coalition’s flagship policy, the Kiwi Build, sank into the water.
“When this government came into being, New Zealand had not had a one-party dictatorship in 24 years. It was normal, and now it’s not,” he says.
“I think it’s probably unlikely that the public will elect a one-party dictatorship to the next generation.”
Substantial objections have been nearly impossible, but rhetorical objections have been surprisingly successful.
“If you’ve seen the Prime Minister’s comments today and just a week ago she said I was unfaithful, I think it’s going to be very hard to get through the idea that all is well and that this is a great government. I think it’s been effective. I think they’ve responded. Because our representative’s job is to ask the questions that people who are sitting watching TV want to ask,” says Seymour.
He refers to the infamous incident when Ardern was caught calling Seymour an “arrogant prick” on the House hot mic. I am thinking. But again, everyone fails sometimes. Seymour himself called Congressman Jackie Dean an “idiot” in a conversation just four hours after the “stabbing” incident.
Where rhetoric has quantifiable success is in polls. According to Seymour, left-wing parties had a 10-point lead over right-wing parties in the 2020 election, but the gap is now almost completely closed.
The ACT itself has performed surprisingly well in the polls. The conventional wisdom was that the ACT would decline once Christopher Luxon took office as National Party leader and the doomed and unpopular leadership of Judith Collins came to an end.
During Delta’s lockdown, the party has now slipped from its regular over 15% approval rating, but still has a healthy 10-12%, well above its results in the last election. I’m here. This is despite a surge in approval ratings in National polls from a low of 21% to a recent high of 40%.
“For 12 months, the polls remained pretty much the same,” says Seymour.
“I think the difference between the same numbers now and the numbers back then reflects the team as a whole rather than individual efforts.”
When in a position to shape government policy after the election, his priorities are to resolve the issue of co-government through a referendum, reform education to boost long-term productivity, reduce red tape, and cut public spending. reduction, reduction of progressive taxation. system.
“Taxes are too progressive. I can think of rich countries that have adopted more progressive tax systems, but I can’t think of countries that have become wealthier with such a progressive tax approach,” he said. says.
“We are now at a stage where we are not a rich country. We are a country that needs to get rich to have as many nurses per capita as, say, Australia. We think so, in the fight to remain distinctly a first world country.”
These are important issues for Seymour. He spends less time thinking about the optimal coalition and suggests that it could be beneficial to leave the National in minority government status. You will get a lot of say.
“The frank and blunt truth is that they haven’t announced policy the way we do,” he says.
“Our resource management reform is, love it or hate it, 20 pages of very serious policy debate. I don’t know what you’re doing, I don’t know.” ”
That doesn’t mean you have a bad relationship with your former neighbor, Luxon. But that means he hopes to see more lively and substantive debate on all sorts of issues next year.
“We think that [election] For example, when you think back to 2016, what was the big question? Should flags be replaced with tea towels? “Will John Key take pandas to the Wellington Zoo?” he says.
“They were happier and simpler times. Now is not the time.”
https://www.newsroom.co.nz/seymour-on-battling-astonishingly-prepared-govt Seymour on fighting ‘amazingly prepared’ government