Seymour on National: ‘Quarter of Parliament gone AWOL’

Source: 1News

ACT leader David Seymour says National has “departed the field”, leaving his party to take on the Government by itself.

ACT leader David Seymour.

Seymour told 1News National was needed in the political landscape to help New Zealand "recover".

"They're a quarter of Parliament and they've got a job to do."

Former National Party leader Judith Collins was ousted on Thursday after a dramatic 15 hours.

Late on Wednesday night Collins released a statement informing the press Simon Bridges was being demoted following a complaint around a serious misconduct allegation.

Bridges revealed on Thursday it related to a lewd comment he made in front of fellow National MP Jacqui Dean in 2017, which had been dealt with in-house at the time.

After a three hour National Party caucus meeting on Thursday, news emerged Collins had lost the leadership.

Dr Shane Reti, who was Collins' deputy, has taken temporary charge until a final decision on a permanent leader is made on Tuesday.

According to 1News political editor Jessica Mutch McKay there are five candidates vying for leadership of the party — Bridges, Christopher Luxon, Mark Mitchell, Nicola Willis and Chris Bishop.

Seymour said he had not spoken to Collins yet, but might over the weekend.

"Judith is human. Every politician is human and I think it's fair to say that she would have had a pretty challenging week."

He would not be drawn on exactly what he would say, but reflected it had been a "pleasure" to work with her and their relationship had been "collegial".

Seymour said he hoped Collins was in a "good space" in the wake of being ousted.

"She’s been an MP now for 19 years. She’s been the Leader of the Opposition, she’s been a minister, she’s done a lot of stuff. But this still would have been a pretty tough week for her, I imagine."

Seymour said National seemed to be more focused on "politicians and politics than people and policies".

"It's people and policies that ultimately decide whether we get a better tomorrow," he said.

"It is really important that whether you’re running a business or sports team, a political party or a school … you have to have a clear sense of purpose and it’s got to be more than just keep our organisation going at all costs.

"ACT’s purpose is better policy for all New Zealanders. If we don’t fulfil our purpose then we’re failing. But of course once you’ve got a better goal to set your eyes on, then you’re less likely to be looking sideways and having a crack at the people who are on your side."

With five candidates vying for leadership of National, Seymour said he "could not even start to guess" who would take the top position.

'Look, whether it's Simon Bridges or Chris Luxon — I say a little prayer for all of them."

Seymour said both the public and himself were disappointed to see "a quarter of Parliament go AWOL".

However, he denied ACT was worried about National's internal politics.

“We’re just worried about what we’re always worried about, which is how do we get rid of this damned Government, and in order to do that what better policies can we give to New Zealanders? That’s what we’re about.”