David Seymour is the Member of Parliament for Epsom, ACT Party Leader.
MP for Epsom
David knocked on 13,000 doors in the Epsom electorate suburbs of Epsom, Mt Eden, Parnell, and Remuera before being elected to parliament in 2014, and he hasn’t stopped since. He regards being elected to parliament by his neighbours as an enormous honour and privilege. Since then his electorate office has assisted over 2,000 constituents on issues from ACC claims to hazardous trees on their properties. In cases such as that of Ana-Carolina Bircham, he has gone in to bat for as long as it takes, sometimes years. He has stood up for constituents on electorate-wide issues including proposed cycleways in Parnell, attacks on school children in Greenlane, and threats to Epsom’s school zones.Critically, David’s election as the MP for Epsom has provided an additional partner for the current Government. As with the 2008 and 2011 elections, voters in the Epsom electorate have voted strategically to help ensure stable centre-right Government.
In 2017, David is campaigning on the same formula: effective local representation at home, and stable centre-right Government in Wellington.
David in His Own Words
“The most powerful influence in my life was my mum. As one of the last people in the Western world to contract the polio virus, she was told she would not walk, work, go to University, drive or have children. As it turned out, she walked and became the Chief Pharmacist for Northland. I can’t comment on the children except to say my brothers turned out well, and I maintain they were half right about her driving. My wider family were in the electrical contracting business. It is a tough business where you come in at the end of the build, up against deadlines and sometimes the current job is paying for the last one. I grew up hearing about what business is really like; exchange rate changes can make a job unprofitable by affecting cable prices, and diggers fall off barges requiring special ingenuity to put things right, among a million other things that make up the thrills and spills of everyday business. These parts of my background give me a healthy respect for what individuals and business can do to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others. There is a role for Government, but it should be to protect people’s rights and not assume their responsibilities. I have always volunteered in some capacity, I spent two years at Lifeline, seven as a rugby coach, and too many with political parties, the functioning of which are critical to our democracy. I believe that real compassion means putting your hand in your own pocket rather than someone else’s. I went into politics because I think the kinds of policies that a country has is one important factor in the lives its citizens live. It is my way of making a contribution in return for all I’ve received from our beautiful New Zealand.”
David grew up in Whangarei with two younger brothers, where his parents were a pharmacist and a draughtsman. As a teenager, he moved to Auckland for high school before graduating from the University of Auckland in Electrical Engineering and philosophy (hedging his bets).
After starting work as an engineer, the phone rang and David moved to Canada where he worked as a policy analyst for a private sector think tank. During this time he appeared on almost every Canadian media outlet on topics from taxes to taxi regulations.
After returning to New Zealand in 2011, David advised John Banks on the initial policy development for Partnership (or Charter) Schools, before the phone rang again for another job in Canada with Reform Party founder Preston Manning.
Today David lives in central Auckland and, when he is not reestablishing the ACT Party, tinkers with the sports car he built, plays guitar (when nobody else is in earshot), enjoys a craft beer and keeps up with friends and family.
David is an economic conservative and a social liberal. He believes that
• Governments should be there to help in the hardest of times, but they should not breed dependence or try to impose some people’s ‘vision’ on others
• When the Government taxes and funds services, such as education, it should give people a choice of provider, such as a range of different schools to attend
• Our natural environment is a special New Zealand inheritance that we only get one chance to protect. The best way to do that is to practice the four P’s of environmental custodianship: Private Initiative, Prosperity, Pricing, Property Rights (see ACT’s full policy here)
• On social issues, people should be able to live (and die) as they please so long as they are not harming anyone else.
Achievements in Politics
Since announcing his intention to run on January 8th, 2014 David has:
• Been selected as ACT’s candidate and elected to Parliament as the MP for Epsom
• Become leader of the ACT Party
• Been appointed to the most powerful Select Committee in parliament, Finance and Expenditure
• Been appointed as Under-Secretary with responsibility for Partnership (or Charter) Schools and Regulatory reform by the Key-English Government
• Brought about legislation so that pubs could open during the 2015 Rugby World Cup games
• Improved numerous bills through his contributions in parliament, including extending paid parental leave for those with premature births, and adding additional safeguards for search and surveillance.
• Drafted and entered into the ballot the End of Life Choice Bill that would legalise Assisted Dying, when no other MP would do so (read more at lifechoice.org.nz). The bill has been drawn from the ballot and is likely to be debated at the end of 2017.
• Been offered promotion from Under-Secretary to Minister by John Key (refused in order to continue promoting the End of Life Choice Bill, Ministers cannot enter Private Members’ Bills)
• As the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regulatory Reform, David has improved New Zealand’s lawmaking process with a new Regulatory Impact Statement regime. His reforms put stronger emphasis on problem definition and respect for property rights before new laws are made.
• Overseen the continuous improvement of the Partnership School program, with one failing school closed, four new ones opened, the funding formula revised, and support organization E tipu e rea established (read more about Partnership Schools at: partnershipschools.education.govt.nz and etipuerea.org)
What the Pundits Say
“Seymour is smart, presentable and a capable exponent of ACT as it could be reformulated to appeal to a generation born after the Rogernomics years, that 1980s golden age for classical-liberal believers when New Zealand became a poster-country for such believers offshore.”
“David Seymour is a thoughtful, mature, and articulate exponent of classical liberal principles and their application to the pressing issues of our day. He is well equipped by training and experience to provide effective public service to his constituents and his country.”
“Seymour has been going well. . . He’s looking like a safe pair of hands with a sense of humour to boot. . . The right-wing of this country needs somebody solid. . . And I really can’t believe I am saying this, but Seymour is looking like he might just turn out to be a class act.”
“Seymour has pulled an astonishing PR stunt: we’ve all stopped laughing at his party. . . At 32, he is whip-smart and already shaping up as one of Parliament’s sharper operators. . . Opponents would be wise not to underestimate the undersecretary.”
“Isn’t David Seymour turning out to be a mover and a shaker? He’s got the government across the line on a couple of amendments to paid parental leave . . . He’s also got a victory for the rugby fans over letting the bars open for the World Cup. . . Who says minor parties can’t make an impact?”
“I thought David Seymour would be the death of ACT. I was wrong.”