Waatea News Column: Responding to David Seymour


David Seymour has kindly responded via the NZ Herald to criticisms that he vandalized a Māori public health campaign and I felt that if he was going to take time to explain himself, it would be wrong not to rebut him line by line.

So let’s begin.

David says this:

“The publication had no practical impact. The code was not private information and it had already been widely shared on social media. The vaccinators have since said they vaccinate all comers anyway. Nobody missed out. In fact, by publishing the “Priority Access Code for Māori”, I’ve done more to promote Māori vaccination than the Government’s taxpayer-funded advertising this week”.

He simply can’t know that, he simply can’t say that. This was a political stunt that had real world impacts, we don’t know if his smearing of this service made Māori more reticent to seek a vaccination and we’ve seen plenty of examples of pākehā pushing their way to the front of other community outreach vaccination programs so his first defense of ‘my stupid stunt had no impact’ is utterly false! His comment that he has done more for Māori vaccination rates than taxpayer funded messaging comes across as sociopathic.

Let’s continue, David goes on to say this:

“The codes were not targeted at people who needed to be vaccinated. Two of the people sent the code that I know already had been. Whatever the problem with Māori getting vaccinated, it’s unlikely they were just waiting to be emailed a priority access code.”

The codes were to make it easier for Māori to book, and seeing as they are such a difficult group to reach, ANY attempt to mess that around isn’t politics, it’s public health vandalism.

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David then says this:

In other words, the whole exercise was symbolic. So, why the outrage? Why did commentators swear on TV, politicians write surly columns, and journalists blow their cover? Their problem is the code was a perfect symbol of something the left worships as sacred.

They believe New Zealand has sinned, and the path to redemption is by forming a new kind of state. A partnership between tangata whenua, here by right, and tangata treaty, here because the treaty allows them to be. In other words, a state where your political rights and your place in the world depend on your birth.

People were not angry at David’s stunt because of some weird belief that the State is secretly reforming itself into ethno nationalistic regime where Māori get extra privileges! That’s David projecting white fragility, no, people were disgusted that David would openly appeal to racists by attacking a Māori outreach program to vaccinate a vulnerable community!

This is on David, not the projections of his fears!

David goes on to say this:

“The new history curriculum teaches the next generation that “Māori history is the foundational and continuous history of New Zealand”.

Three Waters assets are to be put under co-governance between Māori and the rest.

You may not have heard about the Plant Variety Rights Bill, but it will set up a special Māori Plant Variety Rights Committee. Apparently, Māori are born with a special connection to some plants that other people don’t have. I wish I was making this up.

The Natural and Built Environments Act, set to replace the RMA, will require that all land and resource use decisions “give effect to” the principles of the Treaty.

Most of us recognise all of this for what it is. For some folks it is an article of faith beyond criticism. Me having the temerity to mock the priority access code for Māori mocked their faith, and out the hornets swarmed.”

Isn’t it funny that when you scratch the surface of any attack on Māori you get a cavalcade of ignorant justifications!

The issue here isn’t history lessons or 3 waters reforms or legislation on vegetation!!! The issue is you David chose to use your platform to vandalize a public health campaign for Māori in the middle of a national emergency!

THAT’S why people are angry at you, your justifications having nothing to do with the necessity to vaccinate a vulnerable indigenous people!

David then says this:

“The reason I highlighted the code at all was because I want all New Zealanders, regardless of race, to have the opportunity to be vaccinated. I don’t care if you’re pakeha, Māori, Pasifika or Chinese – we should all have equal access. But none of us should be prioritised above the others because of who our grandparents were.”

The reason you highlighted this was because you are desperate for attention and you didn’t appreciate the vast backlash at your political stunt because despite your 2020 election gains you are still a 1% Party playing spiteful undergrad political games for the lols.

The best is yet to come from David:

“Like anyone who wonders aloud whether having different laws for different people based on ancestry might not work out so well, I was accused of racism. Just to be clear, opposing racial discrimination is racist. They never explain how much discrimination you must support to avoid being called racist.

That’s right folks, by texting out a vaccination code for Maori, the real racists here are those who criticized poor wee David!

The lengths some will go to justify their political stunts and the real life damage that comes from those stunts is extraordinary.

David’s attempt at playing the victim would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous!

He has forever stained the reputation of ACT (which is quite the achievement) and he has highlighted the disturbing belief system he has when challenged on such blatant public health vandalism.

This is disgraceful politics.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. Kudos for actually having an intelligent argument against Seymour as opposed to a hysterical “racist, racist, racist” sermon from the rest of the left.

    Despite the feckless trying to downplay this issue. This will be one of the main battlefronts of the election. Can’t say you have swayed my view and the real issue here is not the code but the money spent – 900 million on a Maori covid response. Given the vaccination rate someone has made a hell of a lot of money for not much work.

  2. Somebody, maybe Martyn, explain this?
    “The codes were to make it easier for Māori to book, and seeing as they are such a difficult group to reach”…I’m asking: How are urban Maori living in AKL, at whom the code was directed (not rural Maori living in the Whops) so difficult to reach? Are you telling me they don’t have TVs or iPads or smartphones? BS. And how does a code make it easier to book? You still have to do the same queueing up and filling in of details as everyone else. Somebody explain please.

    • The point was David Seymour was playing race based politics nothing more nothing less. It is sickening to see the sycophantic journalists pushing his case for PM and completely ignoring this fact to suit their own agenda.

  3. Martyn – your analysis of the matter is brilliant. From my point of view, Seymour’s obfuscated justification of his stunt crystallise what he and his party really stand for – a disturbing belief system indeed.

  4. It is not about ‘difficult to reach’ but about attitudes and expectations. Senior Maori led the way in terms of vaccination with more of them vaccinated than any other group in the country at the time. After that too many younger Maori showed no interest in getting a slot in the same way as anyone else. The government response was to throw more tax payers or borrowed money at it and run special campaigns but still little response. The racial division, pakeha vs maori, is well groomed in the younger generation and is imo what has led to this sad state of affairs where the health and well being of EVERYONE is ignored.

    • Thanks Sandra
      You are the first to respond and look at that real problem – “After that too many younger Maori showed no interest in getting a slot in the same way as anyone else.” I don’t get it? Their kids have all sorts of vaxxes like polio, rubella, whooping cough you name it. We are talking urbanised, informed, tech savvy people here. Is it just that they think they are bulletproof? Or is it spite? Or is it that they don’t care that their Senior Leaders paved the way? Do they want to get sick with covid??? I just feel that everyone, mostly the govt, is pussyfooting around the real issue, when sometimes what’s need is ‘strategic a kick up the butt’. Like…eg. (just an idea) no vax – no supermarket – no bottle store – home delivery only! That sort of thing would make everyone think, for sure and we’d get closer to full vaccination!!! Begging and pleading is clearly not working.

    • So do we just ignore or do we try all avenues for the benefit of us all. Just stop making excuses for David Seymour who aspires to run this country with a little help from his friends in high places.

  5. I’m reading Michael King’s book ‘The Silence Beyond’ in which he quotes John Rangihau of Tuhoe: “I am always surprised at the number of Pakeha people who know better than I do how I should be a Maori and what is good for me as Maori. I would never be as audacious to suggest to Pakeha how to live as Pakeha. Yet I am continually being told that to be a New Zealander I must accept absorption of many Maori things into European culture. I can’t go along with this because I don’t feel I can be some sort of Pakeha…….. But I have been asked by the majority culture to become a Pakeha to a large extent so that I can stand up and be counted as a New Zealander. Cor blimey, I am a New Zealander, a Maori New Zealander, and you can’t take that away from me. ”
    Wise words that David Seymour and many others should reflect on.


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