Auckland, November 14, 2021
ACT Party Leader David Seymour is in search of a candidate from the Indian community to contest in the general election due to be held in 2023.
“We would like to have the right person with the right attitude; a person who would consider representing not just the Indian community but all New Zealanders. Obviously such a person will believe in the policies and programmes of the ACT Party,” he said.
Discussion with Indians Living in Auckland
Mr Seymour was participating in an Open Discussion with the members of the ‘Indians Living in Auckland’ Facebook Group and readers of Indian Newslink yesterday (Saturday, November 13, 2021).
Rashna Tata, a moderator of the Group conducted the Discussion, with introduction by Shree Nigudkar, also a moderator.
The ACT Leader is upbeat about the election prospects in 2023 since his Party has been consistently rating high in opinion polls. Although he is yet to make an impression in the ‘Preferred Prime Minister’ listing, he is confident of forming the next government with the National party.
A few candidates from the Indian community in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch had contested under the ACT banner in the general election held in the past, but the Party’s dismal performance and low list rating have prevented them from making it Parliament. Now with improved rating and larger number of seats (Mr Seymour expects at least 25 MPs) in 2023, there is a reasonable chance for a person of Indian origin to become an ACT MP.
Judicious fiscal management
Mr Seymour said that government finances will be properly managed under an ACT-National government, with public spending rationalised.
“The current government is spending too much, without generating revenues. While the top income-tax rate is 33%, there are very few people at this level. We would like to have a middle-tax bracket ($48,000 to $70,000) which represents a majority of New Zealanders, with the income-tax rate dropped to 17.5%,” he said.
During his one-hour discussion, Mr Seymour covered a wide range of topics, including issues of agreement and disparity with National if elected to form the next government.
Accord with National
He has no aversion to working with National Leader Judith Collins, although there could be sticky issues over which ACT has to be content with the status quo. These include increasing or retaining the existing minimum wage, superannuation and perhaps immigration.
But there is agreement on most other issues, especially those related to Covid-19 restrictions, Three Strikes Law, Three Water Reforms and ‘segregation policies.’
“The number of Covid cases continues to rise in the community. It is just a matter of how we deal with it and how prepared we are in the long run. We believe that the economy should be opened and Auckland should come out lockdown by November 29, 2021. That is why we have declared December 1, 2021 as ‘Freedom Day.’ We need to start balancing out all the costs involved with Covid and have a date set up to have our covid response meet our standards that we have set up for ourselves,” he said.
The Ontario Model
Criticising the Labour government on its management of pandemic, Mr Seymour recommended the ‘Ontario Model,’ under which people affected by Covid-19 are given homecare with oxygenators and proper supervision.
“There was a similar proposal from a contractor in New Zealand but the government has not bothered to consider it. We are allowing people to go to crowded supermarkets for buying groceries and go on a picnic. We should allow hospitality businesses to open with limited seating and perhaps outdoor seating,” he said.