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David Seymour
David Seymour in 2023
David Seymour in 2023
1st Minister for Regulation
Assumed office
27 November 2023
Prime Minister Christopher Luxon
Preceded by Office established
Leader of ACT New Zealand
Assumed office
4 October 2014
Deputy Brooke van Velden (since 2020)
Beth Houlbrooke (2017–2020)
Kenneth Wang (2014–2017)
Preceded by Jamie Whyte
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Epsom
Assumed office
20 September 2014
Preceded by John Banks
Majority 9,224
Personal details
David Breen Seymour

(1983-06-24) 24 June 1983 (age 40)
Palmerston North, New Zealand
Political party ACT New Zealand
Alma mater University of Auckland (BA/BE)
Website Official website:

David Breen Seymour (born 24 June 1983) is a New Zealand politician. He is the leader of ACT New Zealand and the Member of Parliament (MP) for Epsom. He currently serves as the Minister for Regulation in the Sixth National Government of New Zealand.

Seymour joined ACT as a student at the University of Auckland. Seymour worked in public policy in Canada during the 2000s, before returning to New Zealand and standing unsuccessfully for election to Parliament in 2005 and 2011. He entered the House of Representatives in 2014 as ACT's sole MP, after which he replaced Jamie Whyte as party leader. In 2018 he appeared in a television dance contest, Dancing With the Stars. Seymour was re-elected in 2017, and led ACT to one of its best results in the 2020 election, winning ten seats.

In 2023, Seymour was re-elected and the ACT Party increased its representation to 11 seats, the best result in the party's history. ACT subsequently formed a coalition government with the National and New Zealand First parties. Under the coalition arrangement, Seymour will assume the position of deputy prime minister from 31 May 2025, replacing Winston Peters.

Early life

Seymour was born in Palmerston North to a Ngāpuhi mother and Pākehā father in 1983. His family moved to Whangārei when Seymour was a child. As a teenager, he went to Auckland Grammar School and, later, the University of Auckland where he graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical & Electronic) and a Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy).

Seymour worked in Canada as a policy analyst for five years for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and the Manning Centre.

Early political career

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2014–2017 51st Epsom none ACT
2017–2020 52nd Epsom 1 ACT
2020–2023 53rd Epsom 1 ACT
2023–present 54th Epsom 1 ACT

ACT activism and candidacy

Seymour is a long-time member of ACT, initially becoming involved in the political party through ACT on Campus while studying at Auckland University. While there, he became leader of the student organisation.

Seymour first stood for ACT in 2005 in Mt Albert. He was unsuccessful in the electorate, which was held by Helen Clark, who was Prime Minister at the time, and with 1.51% of the party vote ACT returned only two members to parliament, leaving Seymour out.

At the 2011 general election, Seymour stood for ACT in the Auckland Central electorate, but the electorate was retained by National's Nikki Kaye. With 1.07% of the party vote, ACT was unable to return any list MPs to parliament, and John Banks, who had retained the Epsom seat for ACT, was the party's only sitting member.

Path to leadership, 2011–2014

After the 2011 election, Seymour worked as a ministerial adviser for Banks, who was appointed an Associate Minister of Education for the John Key-led National government. Seymour assisted with the development of the government's Partnership Schools legislation.

In late 2013, John Banks resigned from his ministerial positions following criminal charges in relation to electoral returns in his bid for the Auckland mayoralty in 2010. In June 2014 he announced he would resign from ACT Party leadership and not contest Epsom in the 2014 election.

ACT Selection Announcement for Leader and Epsom- Seymour & Whyte
Seymour, alongside Jamie Whyte (on the right), during a press conference announcing their selections as the Epsom candidate and party leader respectively, 2014

In February 2014, at the same time that Jamie Whyte was made leader of the ACT Party, Seymour won the nomination to stand as the party's candidate for Epsom. The electorate had already proven strategically important for ACT. Seymour's selection for Epsom, over former deputy leader and party president John Boscawen, was described by political commentators as the "clean slate" choice and a "fresh face". Seymour was the first confirmed candidate for the Epsom electorate, and at an Epsom public meeting during his campaign he was described as "the most popular with the crowd" and "the star of the night, intelligent, witty and articulate".

During the 2014 election campaign, Seymour released a campaign video online which the ACT Party described as going "viral" after it received around 35,000 views. Seymour said of the video: "I think it was just totally real, we didn't set out to make it funny or make it a viral video, it was just me being me, that combination with rather retro production values ... you wouldn't want to watch it standing up." Seymour was endorsed for the Epsom electorate by Prime Minister John Key, despite Key's National colleague Paul Goldsmith also contesting the electorate.

First term, 2014–2017

At the election, Seymour was elected for the Epsom electorate with a majority of 4,250 votes. Jamie Whyte did not win in his bid for the Pakuranga electorate, and Seymour replaced Whyte as the leader of ACT on 3 October 2014.

Ministerial portfolios

National returned as a minority government with ACT in confidence and supply in 2014, and Seymour was appointed parliamentary under-secretary to the Minister of Education and Minister of Regulatory Reform on 29 September 2014, as a result of National's confidence and supply agreement with ACT. Seymour was given responsibility for partnership schools, and reforms to the Resource Management Act 1991 and other regulation.

In October 2015, a Labour Party member's bill to make parliamentary under-secretaries subject to the Official Information Act passed its first reading in Parliament. Seymour accused the bill of personally attacking him, and said it was not necessary because under-secretaries did not have decision-making powers. Nonetheless, Seymour was one of 109 members of Parliament who voted in favour of the legislation at its third reading in June 2016.

Contracts in the second round of applications for charter (partnership) schools were completed on 11 September 2014. In January 2016, the contract was terminated for a Northland charter school from the first round, Te Pūmanawa o te Wairua. Seymour continued to support the policy and push for more charter schools to be established.

LGBTI cross-party group

In 2015, Seymour became a member of a cross-party group initiated by Jan Logie to look at and advocate for LGBTI rights. The group also included: Catherine Delahunty (Green), Chris Bishop (National), Denis O'Rourke (NZ First), Denise Roche (Green), James Shaw (Green), Kevin Hague (Green), Louisa Wall (Labour), Nanaia Mahuta (Labour), Paul Foster-Bell (National), and Trevor Mallard (Labour).

Legalisation of Uber drivers and ride-sharing drivers

On 4 August 2017, Seymour and Transport Minister Simon Bridges helped to make Uber become part of New Zealand's transport system. This also opened other ride-sharing apps like DiDi and Ola to enter and co-exist in the market.

Second term, 2017–2020

David Seymour getting a ticket
David Seymour's electorate car at the Viaduct Harbour, May 2018

Seymour was re-elected to Parliament for Epsom in the 2017 general election as the sole ACT Member of Parliament.

Gun control, 2019

Seymour was the sole Member of Parliament to oppose the Labour-led coalition government's Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act 2019, which bans all semi-automatic firearms used during the Christchurch mosque shootings that occurred on 15 March 2019. Although he missed an initial procedural vote on the bill, he still cast a No vote when voting on the actual bill took place with a final result of 119 to 1. Seymour criticised the urgency of the government's gun control legislation.

Zero Carbon Act 2019

Despite announcing that the ACT party would vote against the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act, Seymour was absent from the vote on the bill's third reading. This allowed it to pass into law with unanimous support, 119–0, drawing the attention of local media.

Coronavirus pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand, Seymour served as a member of the Epidemic Response Committee from 25 March 2020.

Third term, 2020–2023

David Seymour at the Palmerston North Conference & Function Centre
David Seymour speaking in Palmerston North, July 2023

During the 2020 New Zealand general election, Seymour contested the Epsom electorate and was re-elected by a margin of 9,224 votes. In addition, ACT won eight percent of the popular vote, winning ten seats in Parliament (with nine on the party list). In the much expanded caucus, Seymour held the specific portfolios of Finance and COVID-19 Response spokespersons, while remaining leader of the ACT party.

Seymour's third member's bill to be debated in Parliament, the Regulatory Standards Bill, was drawn from the ballot in June 2021. It proposed stricter rules around government regulation making but failed its first reading in July 2021 without the support of the Labour government. Following that bill's introduction, but before its defeat, Seymour announced his next member's bill would establish a legislative framework for four-year terms of Parliament.

Coronavirus pandemic

Following the Delta variant outbreak that began in August 2021, Seymour released ACT's COVID 3.0 strategy, which advocated replacing the government's elimination strategy with a "harm minimisation" strategy that focused on isolating infected individuals and easing border restrictions for travellers from low risk countries. In November 2021, Seymour advocated a regular testing regime for unvaccinated workers instead of the government's vaccine mandate for education, health and hospitality workers.

In December 2021, Seymour opposed the proposed joint Police and Māori iwi (tribal) checkpoints that screened travellers from Auckland heading into the Northland region from 15 December, arguing they would restrict people's freedom of movement. These checkpoints were located at State Highway 1 in Uretiti and State Highway 12 near Maungaturoto through the initiative of former Mana Movement leader Hone Harawira's Tai Tokerau Border Control. Seymour's criticisms were echoed by National Party leader Christopher Luxon and New Zealand First politicians Winston Peters and Shane Jones. In response, Labour's deputy leader and Te Tai Tokerau Member of Parliament Kelvin Davis alleged that criticism of the iwi-led checkpoints was motivated by anti-Māori racism.

2022 "arrogant prick" incident

In mid December 2022, Seymour questioned Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during the Parliamentary Question time about various issues including hate speech and the Three Waters reform programme. Following the session, Ardern was recorded on a hot mic calling Seymour an "arrogant prick". Since New Zealand parliamentary debates are televised, the comment was aired on television during Question Time. Ardern later issued a personal apology to Seymour for her remark. The two politicians subsequently reconciled and joined forces to raise NZ$60,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation by auctioning a signed and framed copy of the Prime Minister's remark.

Fourth term, 2023–present

Rt Hon Christopher Luxon, Hon David Seymour and Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro
David Seymour with Prime Minister Christopher Luxon after their appointments at Government House on 27 November 2023.

During the 2023 New Zealand general election held on 14 October, Seymour was re-elected in Epsom by a margin of 8,142 votes. ACT won 8.64 percent of the popular vote and gained 11 seats in Parliament. Following the election, ACT entered into coalition talks with the National and New Zealand First parties to form a new government.

On 24 November, the three parties concluded coalition talks and reached an agreement on both policy issues and ministerial portfolios. Seymour welcomed the conclusion of negotiations and expressed confidence that ACT had secured a favourable coalition deal. He also told The New Zealand Herald that the Government would announce a 100-day plan that could include repealing some legislation passed by the outgoing Labour government.

As part of the coalition negotiations, Seymour will share the position of deputy prime minister with Peters for the term of the 54th New Zealand Parliament. Peters will serve as deputy prime minister until 31 May 2025, and then Seymour will assume the office until the conclusion of the term. He is the 1st minister for regulation, a portfolio proposed by Seymour. In addition, Seymour was also appointed as an associate minister of education (partnership schools), finance, and health (Pharmac).

Personal life

Seymour is of Ngāpuhi Māori descent on his mother's side, with his Māori ancestors coming from the Tauwhara marae of the Ngāti Rēhia hapū near Waimate North.

Dancing With the Stars

Seymour appeared on the seventh series of Dancing with the Stars. He competed to raise funds for Kidsline, a youth telephone counselling service. His professional dancing partner was Amelia McGregor. Despite harsh criticism from the judges, he finished 5th.

Electoral history

2005 election

2005 general election: Mount Albert

Blue background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list.
Yellow background denotes an electorate win by a list member, or other incumbent.
A YesY or denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±% Party votes % ±%
Labour YesY Helen Clark 20,918 66.55 -1.94 17,501 54.33 +2.53
National Ravi Musuku 6,169 19.63 8,488 26.35 +13.33
Green Jon Carapiet 1,485 4.72 -0.67 2,985 9.27 -1.35
NZ First Julian Batchelor 746 2.37 1,089 3.38 -3.01
ACT David Seymour 746 2.37 651 2.02 -5.09
United Future Tony Gordon 529 1.68 649 2.01 -3.28
Progressive Jenny Wilson 407 1.29 525 1.59 -0.10
Destiny Anne Williamson 337 1.07 157 0.49
Independent Jim Bagnall 83 0.26
Anti-Capitalist Daphna Whitmore 79 0.25 -0.15
Independent Anthony Ravlich 47 0.15
Direct Democracy Howard Ponga 30 0.10 10 0.03
Independent Erik Taylor 29 0.09
Māori Party   168 0.52
Christian Heritage   40 0.12 -0.89
Alliance   22 0.07 -1.69
Family Rights   20 0.06
Libertarianz   19 0.06
RONZ   8 0.02
99 MP   6 0.02
Democrats   3 0.01
One NZ   0 0.00 -0.01
Informal votes 316 130
Total Valid votes 31,747 32,342
Labour hold Majority 14,749

2011 election

Auckland Central (New Zealand electorate)

2014 election

2014 general election: Epsom

Blue background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list.
Yellow background denotes an electorate win by a list member, or other incumbent.
A YesY or denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±% Party votes % ±%
ACT David Seymour 15,966 43.08 −1.02 1,023 2.72 +0.17
National Paul Goldsmith 11,716 31.61 −6.19 23,904 63.45 −1.07
Labour Michael Wood 3,470 9.36 −1.09 5,045 13.39 −2.16
Green Julie Anne Genter 3,021 8.15 +2.14 4,706 12.49 +0.46
Conservative Christine Rankin 1,725 4.65 +3.70 932 2.47 +1.35
NZ First Cliff Lyon 621 1.68 +1.68 1,308 3.47 +0.86
Mana Patrick O'Dea 106 0.29 +0.11
Independent Grace Haden 59 0.16 +0.16
Independent Matthew Goode 37 0.10 −0.06
Independent Susanna Kruger 31 0.08 +0.08
Independent Adam Holland 21 0.06 +0.06
Internet Mana   312 0.83 +0.67
Māori Party   174 0.46 −0.13
United Future   61 0.16 −0.16
Civilian   17 0.05 +0.05
Democrats   10 0.03 +0.01
Ban 1080   7 0.02 +0.02
Focus   4 0.01 +0.01
Independent Coalition   3 0.01 +0.01
Informal votes 286 93
Total Valid votes 37,059 37,675
Turnout 37,768 78.09 +2.36
ACT hold Majority 4,250 11.28 +4.98

2017 election

2017 general election: Epsom

Blue background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list.
Yellow background denotes an electorate win by a list member, or other incumbent.
A YesY or denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±% Party votes % ±%
ACT YesY David Seymour 16,505 43.17 +0.09 696 1.78 −0.94
National Paul Goldsmith 10,986 28.73 −2.87 22,875 58.64 −4.41
Labour David Parker 7,067 18.49 +9.13 9,575 24.55 +11.16
Green Barry Coates 2,785 7.28 −0.87 3,263 8.37 −4.13
NZ First Julian Paul 657 1.72 +0.22 1,229 3.15 −0.32
Conservative Leighton Baker 230 0.60 −4.05 80 0.20 −2.27
Opportunities   1,043 2.67
Māori Party   124 0.32 −0.14
People's Party   34 0.09
United Future   24 0.06 −0.10
Ban 1080   9 0.02 0.00
Democrats   7 0.02 −0.01
Outdoors   7 0.02
Internet   6 0.02 −0.81
Mana Party   6 0.02 −0.81
Informal votes 317 76
Total Valid votes 38,230 39,008
Turnout 39,092
ACT hold Majority 5,519 14.44 +3.16

2020 election

2020 general election: Epsom

Blue background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list.
Yellow background denotes an electorate win by a list member, or other incumbent.
A YesY or denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±% Party votes % ±%
ACT YesY David Seymour 19,500 46.97 +3.80 4,355 10.36 +8.58
Labour Camilla Belich 10,276 24.75 +6.26 15,078 35.87 +11.32
National Paul Goldsmith 6,397 15.41 −13.32 15,668 37.27 −21.37
Green Kyle MacDonald 3,101 7.47 +0.19 4,596 10.93 +2.56
Opportunities Adriana Christie 889 2.14 822 1.95 +1.75
TEA Noel Jiang 337 0.81 112 0.26
New Conservative Norman Sutton 231 0.79 +0.19 211 0.50 +0.30
Advance NZ Faith-Joy Aaron 166 0.39 147 0.34
Sustainable NZ Shannon Withers 72 0.17 30 0.07
Outdoors Maia Prochazka 31 0.07 7 0.01 −0.19
Not A Party Finn Harris 24 0.05
NZ First   609 1.44 −1.71
Māori Party   108 0.25 −0.07
ONE   27 0.06
Social Credit   8 0.01
Vision NZ   8 0.01
Heartland   6 0.01
Informal votes 484 203
Total Valid votes 41,508 42,031
Turnout 42,311 82.84
ACT hold Majority 9,224 22.22 +7.78
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