Act leader looks to future

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Act leader David Seymour (left) with Act list MPs Toni Severin and Simon Court during an event in Invercargill to thank the community for their support in the election.

LAST month’s national election is still a fresh memory, but Act New Zealand leader David Seymour is already thinking about the 2023 election.

The MP for Epsom was in Invercargill on Sunday as part of his “Thank You Tour”, which would visit about 15 towns and cities throughout New Zealand.

Mr Seymour said the party had strong support in Southland, gaining about 13% of the party vote in the electorate.

He would like to increase the presence of Act in the region, he said.

“We had so many people giving up so much for democracy.

“This tour is to thank the ones who helped us from word of mouth, to donations… we wanted to thank them all.”

Mr Seymour addressed about 50 people who gathered at the Speight’s Ale House in Invercargill to hear the plans of the party for the next three years.

These included setting up a southern base in the region.

He said Act was thinking about implementing a mobile presence for people who had problems connecting with Act MPs.

During the meeting, Mr Seymour also spoke about the potential closure of the Tiwai smelter next year.

He said he had a solution which he described as “ready to go”.

“It is simple. It is to legislate [consent] for a second power line so that Transpower would be forced to be back at the table [for negotiations].”

With this strategy, Rio Tinto, the owner of New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter, would have the right to build a new power line, but would not do so.

It would invoke the prudent discount policy in the Electricity Code which states if an electricity customer has a realistic option of building its own transmission solution, Transpower must offer it a discount, he said.

He promised the crowd he would continue to advocate for this solution. Mr Seymour was also pleased with the results of the End of Life Choice Act, which he drafted in 2015 and had support of 65.2% of voters in the referendum at the election.

“I’m very proud that my name is on the Bill, but it was a team effort. And the team was the team of New Zealand. We decided to be a more compassionate place.

“It makes me really proud to be a Kiwi.”

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