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I don’t begrudge David Seymour tipping his hat into the ring for Deputy PM.
Many would argue it’s a relatively inconsequential role - it doesn’t mean much. I mean most of last term we couldn’t remember who was deputy leader or deputy PM: Kelvin Davis or Carmel Sepuloni. It didn’t really matter, no one really cared.
But it does carry gravitas. There is something about the title which carries weight – and of course the obvious additional bonus of stepping into the PM’s shoes when they're out of the country. So you can’t argue it doesn’t carry some responsibility too. And Seymour’s argument is fair I reckon. Proportionality. He’s arguing that the role makes sense for him given they’ve got the second-largest government party, so he says, the second-biggest role makes sense. He thinks that’s the clear case for him to be Deputy PM.
However, he’s also saying he doesn’t know if he’ll get it – he said outside Luxon’s house yesterday that, “a negotiation's a negotiation, and you never know your luck ... so I'm not going to try and predetermine it one way or another.” But in saying that, he's also making a public bid for it which is an interesting tack, and may be nothing more than a power play. Which again is a bit odd given he's also always said he’ll serve in any role and he’s not into the baubles.
We know for sure who is into the baubles, so whoever gets this bauble will be interesting. In general Seymour believes ACT should get more ministerial roles than NZ First based on the party vote, and that’s not a bad point. Surely that’s the fairest way to do it? Seymour argues ‘proportionality's important to democracy’, and if we subscribe to the philosophy that every vote deserves its weight in representation then he’s right, isn’t he?
But if we take that at face value, then Deputy should really be Nicola Willis. Why isn't it her? I don’t know where Luxon’s head will be at with this stuff, I don’t know how much he’ll have had to give away, how much of a tanty Winston may throw if he doesn’t get all his baubles. I mean I wouldn’t want to be Luxon juggling all this, and God only knows how he’s dishing it out.
But I feel like Seymour worked really hard during the campaign, he got the party vote for Act up to an historic high, and they won a record result at the election. He worked his butt off; he deserves some plaudits for that. And he’s right, they are the second biggest party in government now. That’s a huge achievement. But if you argue his proportionality argument, then it still leaves the obvious Deputy PM as Nicola Willis.
If Luxon is prepared to trade this away from National though and he has to pick between Winston Peters and David Seymour, then I'd pick Seymour. Hard working, always available, enthusiastic, and a good communicator. I am impressed at how much Seymour's fronted and tried to keep everyone in the loop throughout this; he’s a big believer in transparency and accountability. I know it's appreciated by the media but I’m just not sure how much that’ll be being appreciated by the other party leaders.
It’s a fine line he’s dancing. And whether he’s twerking his way into being Deputy PM or not... we’ll have to wait and see.
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