Seymour sets target for next election

Act New Zealand leader David Seymour. Photo: RNZ
Act New Zealand leader David Seymour. Photo: RNZ
Act New Zealand leader David Seymour has set a goal of 15 percent of the vote at the 2026 election.

Seymour today addressed Act's 'Change Makers' rally, casting it as a victory lap for Act's entry into government, and setting out the policies it got over the line in the coalition agreement - but also where it wanted to go further.

"Our allies in government have said they'd get 'faster decisions' if they didn't need to consult Act. But New Zealand doesn't need faster decisions, it needs better decisions," Seymour told supporters, who had paid $50 for a ticket, at Auckland's Viaduct Events Centre.

"Nobody believes the current government would be dealing to Labour's legacy of waste and division so decisively without Act, without all you change-makers who put us here."

Seymour said Act's support had grown by 1000 percent in five years, and its internal polling showed 22 percent of people polled rated their likelihood of voting for Act an eight out of 10 or higher.

He said the party was aiming for two-thirds of those people to end up casting their vote for Act in 2026.

"It would complete Act's transformation from an insurgent small party to the small large party you are helping us build," he said.

Seymour laid into the previous government, criticising it on matters of crime, infrastructure, and race-based policies, but said such "maladies" had started long before.

"We have lost our confidence as a country because we've forgotten the spirit it was founded on," Seymour said. "We've forgotten the importance of each person flourishing in their own way, on their own terms, free from government overreach and fear of what others will think and do."

Seymour said Labour leader Chris Hipkins needed to stand for something, and that Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson had "checked out".

But his strongest criticism was aimed at Te Pāti Māori, saying it had lowered the standards of political debate.

"Te Pāti Māori are bringing shame to the word Māori," he said. "The idea of a race-based party has always been wrong, but it's hard to believe the mighty totaras who built their party can approve of the outright hatred they are now spewing."

Act's other ministers Brooke van Velden, Nicole McKee, Karen Chhour, and Andrew Hoggard also spoke about their portfolios.

Chhour and McKee spoke about their Māori heritage, saying they had been accused of being "sellouts" by opposition parties.

"For Labour, the Greens, and Te Pāti Māori to suggest that I'm not a real Māori or I can't think for myself because I don't follow their beliefs is a disgrace. It brings shame to our Parliament and makes a mockery of all New Zealanders who voted for change," Chhour said.

The keynote speech was delivered by former Breakfast host Paul Henry, who stood as a candidate for National in 1999 but cast his 2023 votes for Act.

"I believe that Act could be the last cab left on the rank heading in the right direction," he said.