David Seymour responds to being called a 'useless Māori'

David Seymour says he’s proud of his Māori whakapapa, after he was called a “useless Māori” by Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson on Tuesday.

In response to Jackson’s comments, Seymour said the name calling was a “shame” and that he was proud of his heritage.

“I’m proud of my Māori whakapapa. I'm proud of all my heritage and I’m not gonna stoop to getting involved with someone like that.”

Seymour on Monday announced ACT’s alternative budget, which proposes abolishing various government agencies, including Te Puni Kōkiri/The Ministry of Māori Development and the Office of Māori Crown Relations.

When asked by a reporter on Tuesday if he thought Seymour was deliberately dog whistling, Jackson said "absolutely" and that the ACT leader would "do anything" for votes.

He then said Seymour's whakapapa wasn’t in question, but it didn’t mean he was a “great advocate for Māori”.

“It’s very sad watching Seymour, a man who claimed he was Māori, you just don’t know where he’s coming from now.

“He’s just a useless Māori that’s all. You can’t deny his, you don’t deny any people their whakapapa, but it doesn’t make them some sort of great advocate for Māori does it?

“(He’s) absolutely Māori, but just maybe the most useless advocate for Māori we’ve ever seen.”

David Seymour defended his party’s alternative budget, which would see cuts to a number of public services.

“ACT’s alternative budget for real change says we shouldn’t have ministries that are there just for a type of person, because every ministry should be serving every type of person.

“Every ministry should be representing every type of human.”

Te Pāti Māori also responded, with co-leader Rawiri Waititi saying Seymour was “worse than Don Brash” because he “actually has Māori whakapapa”.

“You can’t use your Māori whakapapa to weaponise against your own people, he’s a disgrace.”

Rawiri Waititi, Te Pāti Māori co-leader

Green Party’s co-leader Marama Davidson said she didn’t think Seymour added anything to the "political aspirations for Māori".

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson.