- The polls suggest ACT will increase their seats in the 2023 general election.
- ACT’s theme is “real change”. Amongst other policies, it vows to repeal co-governance and identity-based legislation.
- Seymour is asking voters to give their party vote to ACT because National is “barely using it”!
ACT holds annual conference
Party leader David Seymour and several ACT MPs addressed a sold-out crowd of 600-plus in Auckland at ACT’s annual conference on 4 June 2023.
The theme of “real change” was woven through the two-hour event as speakers addressed topics such as co-governance, crime, cost of living, climate change and other hot button election issues.
The buoyant response ACT received for its rally is part of the momentum the party is building going into the 2023 election. Recent polls are very tight, but suggest ACT may be able to form a government with National and increase its representation to 15 seats come October.
Seymour used his address to appeal to voters to cast their party vote for ACT and “dial up the brew”.
“Won’t giving ACT your party vote take it away from National? Well the answer is yes, but they won’t notice – they’re barely using it,” says Seymour.
There’s little doubt ACT has been gaining ground with voters over the past few years. Polls have the party sitting well into double digit support. A long way from the 2017 election of 0.5% support.
A key policy calls for the creation of a new “Ministry of Regulation” to focus solely on cutting red tape, which the party views as a major hindrance to higher wages, increased productivity, lower prices and innovation.
In addition to the new ministry, the party vowed to bring a Regulatory Standards Bill and enforcement provisions to cut “bad law” out of government.
ACT also wants a two-step income tax system with incomes up to $70,000 taxed 17.5% and anything above dinged at 28%. They would also reinstate charter schools and the three strike rule for offenders, along with funding new prison beds.
They also said they wanted to reform Pharmac and set up a new agency, Mental Health and Addictions NZ.
Vow to repeal identity-based legislation
The party is also looking to remove co-governance measures. Any laws that afford different rights based on identity will be repealed under ACT. That includes an overhaul of the Resource Management Act and repealing Three Waters.
Seymour accused Labour of accelerating “the drift towards separatism”. ACT MP Linda Chhour said agencies such as those engaged in child welfare should be “100 percent colour blind”. Chhour was referencing the strong preference of child services to place a Maori child in a Māori home, based on considerations of ethnicity, regardless of other circumstances.
“I have and will continue to speak out against the idea that we need to be a Tiriti-centric country, where individuals align themselves as tangata whenua or tangata tiriti. Where there is no middle ground or third option and you are forced to pick a side,” said Chhour.
Looking to eat National’s lunch
Scientist and former two time National MP, Dr Parmjeet Parmar, has joined ACT and will stand in the Pakuranga electorate in Auckland.
Meanwhile Deputy leader Brooke van Velden will challenge National’s Simon O’Connor for the Tāmaki electorate – long considered a safe blue seat.