Seymour on the day of the announcement of his selection by ACT in 2014
|Leader of ACT New Zealand|
|Assumed office |
4 October 2014
|Deputy||Kenneth Wang (2014–2017) |
|Preceded by||Jamie Whyte|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament|
|Assumed office |
20 September 2014
|Preceded by||John Banks|
David Breen Seymour
24 June 1983
Palmerston North, New Zealand
|Political party||ACT New Zealand|
|Occupation||Member of Parliament|
A graduate of the University of Auckland, Seymour worked in public policy in Canada, before returning to New Zealand and contesting for election to Parliament. He entered the House of Representatives in 2014 as ACT's sole MP, after which he was elected as party leader, replacing Jamie Whyte. Seymour has embraced libertarian policies since becoming party leader; he supports the legalisation of assisted dying and has introduced a bill on this issue. Seymour has appeared extensively on television during his leadership. In November 2015 Seymour was named the 'Trans Tasman 2015 Politician Of The Year'.
Seymour is a long time member of ACT New Zealand, initially becoming involved in the political party as a leader of ACT on Campus. He first stood for ACT in 2005 in Mt Albert against Helen Clark, who was Prime Minister at the time. At the 2011 election, he stood for ACT in the Auckland Central electorate, which was retained by National's Nikki Kaye. After this election, Seymour worked as a ministerial adviser for ACT's successful Epsom candidate, John Banks, who was appointed an Associate Minister of Education for the John Key-led National government. Seymour assisted with the development of the government's Partnership Schools legislation.
In February 2014, Seymour contested and won the nomination to stand as the ACT Party candidate for Epsom in the 2014 general election. This electorate is seen as strategically important for both ACT and coalition partners National; an ACT victory in Epsom was essential to a National-led government after both the 2008 and 2011 elections. Seymour's selection, over former ACT New Zealand deputy leader John Boscawen, was seen by political commentators as "clean slate" choice and a "fresh face", At an Epsom public meeting during this campaign he was seen as "the most popular with the crowd" and "the star of the night, intelligent, witty and articulate". He was the first confirmed candidate for the Epsom electorate.
During the 2014 election campaign, Seymour released a campaign video online which the ACT Party described as going "viral" after it received around 35,000 views. Seymour said of the video: "I think it was just totally real, we didn't set out to make it funny or make it a viral video, it was just me being me, that combination with rather retro production values ... you wouldn't want to watch it standing up."
|New Zealand Parliament|
Seymour was endorsed in the Epsom electorate by Prime Minister John Key, despite Key's National colleague Paul Goldsmith also contesting the electorate. Seymour was elected to Parliament in the Epsom electorate in the 2014 general election with a majority of 4,500 votes based on preliminary results.
Seymour was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education and Minister of Regulatory Reform by Prime Minister John Key on 29 September 2014, as a result of National's confidence and supply agreement with ACT. Seymour was given responsibility for partnership schools, and reforms to the Resource Management Act 1991 and other regulation.
In October 2015, a Labour Party member's bill to make parliamentary under-secretaries subject to the Official Information Act passed its first reading in Parliament. Seymour accused the Bill of personally attacking him, and said it was not necessary because under-secretaries did not have decision-making powers.
Contracts in the second round of applications for charter (partnership) schools were completed on 11 September 2014. In January 2016, the contract was terminated for a Northland charter school from the first round, Te Pūmanawa o te Wairua. Seymour continued to support the policy and push for more charter schools to be established.
On 6 June 2015, Seymour confirmed that he was preparing a member's bill that would legalise assisted dying after Seales v Attorney-General found that only parliament had the ability to address assisted dying laws. On 14 October 2015, Seymour lodged the End of Life Choice Bill into the member's ballot, launched a website promoting his bill, and released an ACT-commissioned poll of 2800 people showing 66% public support in favour of legalising assisted dying. On 8 June 2017, Seymour's bill was selected from a member's ballot. The bill was debated at its first reading on 13 December 2017, and passed with 76 votes in favour and 44 against. It was then reviewed by the Justice Select Committee. It reappeared before the House for a second reading 26 June 2019 and passed, with 70 votes in favour, 50 opposed. An amendment to the bill which included a binding referendum at the 2020 general election passed prior to its third reading with 63 votes in favour and 57 opposed. The bill reappeared before the House and passed its third reading on 13 November 2019 with 69 votes in favour and 51 votes against. Seymour is confident the public will vote to put the bill into law, noting that "there was overwhelming support and it should easily pass the referendum."
In August 2015, Seymour introduced a member's bill to allow bars and rugby clubs to extend their bar trading hours when they are televising games from the Rugby World Cup. Most games, due to the time difference between New Zealand and England, started between 4am and 6am New Zealand Time, meaning that alcohol would not usually have been allowed to be sold. Despite opposition from the Green Party and the Māori Party, Seymour's bill passed all three readings, meaning that bars and rugby clubs were allowed to open for Rugby World Cup games.
In 2015, Seymour was a member of a cross-party group initiated by Jan Logie to look at and advocate for LGBTI rights. The group consisted of Catherine Delahunty (Green), Chris Bishop (National), David Seymour (ACT), Denis O'Rouke (NZ First), Denise Roche (Green), James Shaw (Green), Jan Logie (Green), Kevin Hague (Green), Louisa Wall (Labour), Nanaia Mahuta (Labour), Paul Foster-Bell (National), and Trevor Mallard (Labour).
Seymour was the sole Member of Parliament to oppose the Labour-led coalition government's Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act 2019, which bans all semi-automatic firearms used during the Christchurch mosque shootings that occurred on 15 March 2019. Although he missed an initial procedural vote on the bill, he still cast a No vote when voting on the actual bill took place with a final result of 119 to 1. Seymour has criticised the urgency of the Government's new gun control legislation.
Seymour has supported the Abortion Legislation Act 2020 but has argued that "safe zones" infringe upon freedom of expression. Prior to the third reading of the Bill on 10 March 2020, Seymour successfully included an amendment eliminating safe zones around abortion clinics. The bill passed its third reading on 18 March, receiving royal assent on 23 March.
Despite announcing that the ACT party would vote against the 2019 Zero Carbon Amendment Seymour was conspicuously absent from the vote on the bill's third reading. This allowed it to pass into law with unanimously support, 119–0, drawing the attention of local media.
Seymour appeared on the seventh series of Dancing with the Stars. He competed to raise funds for Kidsline, a youth telephone counselling service. His professional dancing partner was Amelia McGregor. Despite harsh criticism from the judges, he finished 5th.
Seymour has defended the rights of pro-democracy protesters in New Zealand during the 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests. He criticised the Chinese Consulate-General in Auckland for praising the actions of Chinese students who had allegedly assaulted a Hong Kong student activist erecting a Lennon Wall at the University of Auckland on 29 July 2019. Seymour also spoke at a pro-Hong Kong democracy rally at the University of Auckland on 6 August 2019. Seymour's defence of free speech was praised by blogger Martyn "Bomber" Bradbury.
In mid-May 2019, Seymour generated widespread criticism, including from MPs from all of the other parties, when he stated in a radio interview that Green Party List MP Golriz Ghahraman was a "menace to freedom in [New Zealand]." Critics suggested Seymour's association of Ghahraman's support for hate speech laws with suppression of free speech by dictators like Mao Zedong and Hitler was inapproriate. Seymour argued that he had merely "attacked her views".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to David Seymour (politician).|
|New Zealand Parliament|
| Member of Parliament
|New office|| Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education
| Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister for Regulatory Reform|
|Party political offices|
| Leader of ACT New Zealand