Seymour makes a claim for environmental stewardship

EDITORIAL

ACT leader David Seymour has shown again he is prepared to make bold moves to revitalise the party, with an impressive keynote speech at its annual conference in Auckland. The problem is that he has a long way to go.

Seymour was sure to make headlines with his proposal to sell the state-owned farming mega company Landcorp and use the proceeds to fund a major restoration of the environment.

In the process he was able to take a sidesweep at the Greens, calling them hypocrites for the high air miles they have been recording. It is another tactical move to identify ACT as liberal as well as right wing; as a party with an environmental conscience.

Obviously a fair portion of its small membership still has issues with climate change, so on that key environmental front Seymour described himself as a “luke warmer”; he called for a carbon tax, set at zero initially.

The young ACT leader points to the fact Landcorp, despite a valuation of $1.6 billion, made a profit of only about $1 million in the past year — having been hit hard by falling milk prices.

This is the sort of move by Seymour that is attracting the attention of political commentators, some naming him politician of the year for 2015.

He has ambitious plans for ACT, telling delegates his goal is to see it reach 100,000 votes at the next election giving them five MPs and possibly the balance of power.

It would certainly be a huge leap forward for the party which could only muster 0.69 percent at the 2014 election, well below its best ever support of 7 percent in 1999.

The conference, which surprisingly was filmed by China’s leading news website, would have been watched with interest by John Key and his government.

While National continues to poll strongly, they know they are unlikely to get an outright majority and will need ACT and the Maori Party, which is also flagging at the polls, to have at least one MP each. Otherwise they might be forced to go cap-in-hand to Winston Peters, who saw NZ First actually pass the Greens in the latest polls. That would be a bitter pill to swallow.

ACT leader David Seymour has shown again he is prepared to make bold moves to revitalise the party, with an impressive keynote speech at its annual conference in Auckland. The problem is that he has a long way to go.

Seymour was sure to make headlines with his proposal to sell the state-owned farming mega company Landcorp and use the proceeds to fund a major restoration of the environment.

In the process he was able to take a sidesweep at the Greens, calling them hypocrites for the high air miles they have been recording. It is another tactical move to identify ACT as liberal as well as right wing; as a party with an environmental conscience.

Obviously a fair portion of its small membership still has issues with climate change, so on that key environmental front Seymour described himself as a “luke warmer”; he called for a carbon tax, set at zero initially.

The young ACT leader points to the fact Landcorp, despite a valuation of $1.6 billion, made a profit of only about $1 million in the past year — having been hit hard by falling milk prices.

This is the sort of move by Seymour that is attracting the attention of political commentators, some naming him politician of the year for 2015.

He has ambitious plans for ACT, telling delegates his goal is to see it reach 100,000 votes at the next election giving them five MPs and possibly the balance of power.

It would certainly be a huge leap forward for the party which could only muster 0.69 percent at the 2014 election, well below its best ever support of 7 percent in 1999.

The conference, which surprisingly was filmed by China’s leading news website, would have been watched with interest by John Key and his government.

While National continues to poll strongly, they know they are unlikely to get an outright majority and will need ACT and the Maori Party, which is also flagging at the polls, to have at least one MP each. Otherwise they might be forced to go cap-in-hand to Winston Peters, who saw NZ First actually pass the Greens in the latest polls. That would be a bitter pill to swallow.

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Bob Hughes - 3 years ago
ACT has removed its 2008 climate change policy from its website as well - this policy claimed New Zealand was not warming and it pledged to withdraw the country from the Kyoto Protocol. I do hope this means ACT has had a true change of heart and will add its support to all our active endeavours to get those emissions down.

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