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David Seymour is a New Zealand politician serving as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Epsom and Leader of ACT New Zealand since 2014. He 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 introduced a bill on this issue. Seymour has appeared extensively on television during his leadership.
|Net Worth||$4 million|
David Breen Seymour was born on June 24,1983 (age 38 years) in Palmerson North, New Zealand. He went to the Auckland Grammar School, and the University of Auckland where he graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical & Electronic) and a Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy). Seymour is of Ngāpuhi Māori descent on his mother’s side, with his Māori ancestors coming from the Tauwhara marae of the Ngāti Rēhia hapū near Waimate North. His mother is Breen Seymour.
Seymour worked in Canada as a Policy Analyst for five years for Frontier Centre for Public Policy and the Manning Centre. He 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 a “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.
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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.”
David 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.
He replaced Jamie Whyte as the leader of ACT on 3 October 2014. Seymour was re-elected to Parliament, representing Epsom, in the 2017 general election.
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 the 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 regulations.
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 the requirement that it be approved by a binding referendum before it would take effect, 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.
In an interview on the day of the third reading, Seymour said that he was confident that the public would vote to put the Act into law, noting that “there was overwhelming support and it should easily pass the referendum.” The Act was approved in the 2020 New Zealand euthanasia referendum, which was held in conjunction with the 2020 general election, with a majority of voters voting in favour of the Act.
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 4 am and 6 am 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), Seymour, Denis O’Rourke (NZ First), Denise Roche (Green), James Shaw (Green), 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 criticised the urgency of the Government’s 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 unanimous support, 119–0, drawing the attention of local media.
Public release of Māori vaccination code
In September 2021, Seymour came under criticism for releasing a special COVID-19 vaccination appointment access code meant for Māori people to his followers on Twitter. The priority code was intended for a population that is the least vaccinated and most at-risk demographic in New Zealand due to systemic racism. The code offered priority access for Māori who wished to be vaccinated by Whānau Waipareira (a Māori social services volunteer agency) at the Trusts Arena in West Auckland. Seymour’s support base is mostly comprised of wealthy European New Zealanders. It was alleged that he sought to sabotage a campaign to improve vaccination access for Māori. The move garnered widespread disapproval, and Seymour faced allegations of being racist. Seymour pushed back on the allegations, responding by telling media that “the virus doesn’t discriminate on race, so neither should the roll out.”
Seymour has defended the rights of pro-democracy protesters in New Zealand during the 2019–20 Hong Kong 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 Adolf Hitler was inappropriate. Seymour argued that he had merely “attacked her views”.
Seymour’s concern is that the strengthening of hate speech laws is “divisive and dangerous” since the power of the state could be used by the majority to “silence unpopular views”. He believes, if the law is strengthened, that what is considered hate speech will become “too subjective” and open to being abused.
David Seymour is currently not married. However, he 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.
David Seymour net worth
How much is David Seymour worth? David Seymour net worth is estimated at around $4 million. His salary is around $350,000. He is one of the influential politicians in New Zealand. Since 25 March 2020, Seymour has been a member of the Epidemic Response Committee, a select committee that considers the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2020 New Zealand general election, Seymour contested the Epsom electorate and was re-elected by a margin of 9,224 votes. In addition, ACT won eight percent of the popular vote, winning ten seats in Parliament (with nine on the party list). In the much-expanded caucus, Seymour now has the specific portfolios of Finance and COVID-19 Response, while remaining leader.