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Kate Hawkesby: Act leader's bark and bite better than National's

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Monday, 11 March 2019, 7:33a.m.
Act Party leader David Seymour.

COMMENT:

I'm just wondering if Act leader David Seymour is either the hardest working man in politics, or just the noisiest.

Over the weekend he appeared twice in the national media – calling for Shane Jones' head to roll, and again accusing the Te Kura school of correspondence of a culture of extravagance.

If you missed either of those stories, the ACT leader declared Jacinda Ardern should sack Shane Jones because he allegedly helped to secure almost $5 million in funding for a cultural project in Northland which he previously had connections to.

Jones has said, for the record, that he was in line to run the project, but that he declared a conflict of interest - although he did attend a ministerial meeting where the grant was discussed.

Ironically for a man calling for heads to roll on a pretty regular basis, Shane Jones did not appreciate David Seymour calling for his.

He called Seymour an "urban gravedigger" who's just "after a political corpse".
He went on to say it'd be "a long day in hell if he finds me." Never one to mince words.

The other grenade lobbed by Seymour this weekend was that Te Kura school, our national school of correspondence, spent $1.2 million on overseas travel including business class flights and five-star hotels over a five-year period.

Seymour called this a culture of extravagance and said in one report that, "no public servant needs to stay in a $400-a-night hotel room". He called them "out of control".

He's also been a very vocal critic of the Government's proposed Tomorrow's Schools reforms, organising a string of public meetings with parents, to actively encourage debate and engagement on the review.

It's getting picked up, and it's generating headlines, attention and responses.

No matter what you think of Seymour, he's putting spotlights on stuff which rightly or wrongly calls for accountability.

Which is exactly what the leader of the opposition should be doing.

Which leads me to ask, Simon Bridges… where are you?

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