ACT Conference, the rise of the hard right in NZ and dreams of 15%

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the dead eyed hard right

Election 2026: ACT leader David Seymour sets 15 percent target, blasts Te Pāti Māori

ACT leader David Seymour has set a goal of 15 percent of the vote at the 2026 election.

 

Meeeeeeeeee!

TDB has spent half a decade warning that ACT’s double digit support represent a dangerous polarisation of NZ politics.

I warned the woke activists that if they started a Free Speech Culture War they would accidentally trigger the dormant faultline of ACT and lo and fucking behold, that’s exactly what happened!

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The moment the woke started their free speech cancel culture, ACT started rising in the polls to the point they are now the third largest party.

The middle class woke activists have handed ACT the culture war ammunition that they are now devastatingly using against the Left.

Good one Wokies, could you PLEASE go back to sleep?

The rise of the Hard Right in NZ, thanks to the middle class woke activists, has seen an assault on the Treaty, has seen ACT pimping for the legal meth market, has seen ACT pimping for the pharmaceutical industry, has seen ACT pimping for the gun nuts and has seen ACT pimping for the counter productive punitive law and order fetish club.

How it started vs how it’s going

The reality is that Luxon represents the weakest Prime Minister in modern NZ political history and the danger for National is that the social media hate algorithms that are polarising the electorate will empower the hard right fringes while hollowing out the middle voter.

We are seeing this dynamic at play in the polls right now.

ACT have zero interest in being moderate and will continue to play to racist culture war talking points which threatens National.

ACT getting 8.64% was a danger warning of how extreme the Right have become and as National continues to weakly govern, David Seymour will continue to over shine the very dull Luxon.

The ATLAS Network’s involvement in the idealogical structure of ACT was revealed this year but didn’t get beyond Māori Media.

Joshua Drummond’s blog on David Seymour’s refusal to acknowledge any links with the far right Libertarian Think Tank funded by petrol oligarchs and wealthy far right groups is a must read…

To recap, quickly: The Atlas Network is a “think tank that creates think tanks“; a global network of more than 500 right-wing think tanks and lobby groups. New Zealand members of Atlas include the Taxpayers’ Union and the New Zealand Initiative (formed from a merger of two think tanks, one of which was the infamous Business Roundtable.)

Seymour’s extraordinary denial came during a recording of Mata with Mihingarangi Forbes on RNZ, recorded and released on Waitangi Day, February 6 2024. The relevant parts of the transcript are excerpted below.

FORBES: AND THOSE INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS ARE NOW WARNING MĀORI THAT THE SAME GROUPS ARE BEHIND THIS REFERENDUM. ARE THEY, DO YOU THINK?
SEYMOUR: WELL, IF YOU’RE ABOUT TO GO INTO THE NEW PIZZAGATE OF THE LEFT CONSPIRACY THEORY, THEN I’LL BE REAL DISAPPOINTED.
FORBES: WHAT’S THAT, THE PIZZAGATE?
SEYMOUR: THAT’S SOME CRAZY CONSPIRACY THEORY THAT TRUMP HAS HAD IN THE US.
FORBES: THE CAMPAIGN IN AUSTRALIA HAD LINKS TO THE ATLAS NETWORK.
SEYMOUR: OH, HERE WE GO.
FORBES: A NETWORK OF THINK TANKS, WHICH PROMOTE INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY AND FREE ENTERPRISE. AND IT SAID THAT THE NETWORK PUSHES OPINION PIECES IN FAVOUR OF FREE SPEECH. DO THE ACT PARTY HAVE ANY LINKS OR CONNECTIONS TO THE ATLAS GROUP?
SEYMOUR, VERY QUIETLY: NO.

That is a lie. David Seymour and the ACT Party have numerous links to the Atlas Network. Here are some of them.

After a 10 month stint as an electrical engineer – his sole non-political, non-think tank job – David Seymour worked for a Canadian think tank called the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, from 2007 to 2011. From January 2013 to February 2014, he worked for The Manning Foundation (now called the Canada Strong and Free Network). Both these think tanks were members of the Atlas Network at the time. (They possibly still are: the Atlas Network no longer discloses member organisations on its website.) Just in case there’s any doubt, here is David Seymour in the Atlas Year in Review, 2008. He is pictured composing a song about school choice to celebrate Milton Friedman Legacy Day, which is one of those sentences you never expect to find yourself writing.

…Seymour singing a song attacking public education to celebrate Milton Friedman is kinda hilarious…

There are other overt ACT links to Atlas. According to his LinkedIn profile, Louis Houlbrooke is currently “working at Parliament in support of ACT’s vision of an open and benevolent society in which individual New Zealanders are free to achieve their full potential.” Before this, he worked as Campaigns Manager for the Taxpayers’ Union, an Atlas Network member, for four years, eight months. During this time, Houlbrooke attended multiple Atlas Network events, as documented by the Atlas Network.


A screenshot of a photo from the Atlas Network website. Louis Houlbrooke is pictured in the back row, fifth from the right. 

Hilariously, the most comprehensive debunking of David Seymour’s 2024 Waitangi Day lie about the ACT Party’s connection to the Atlas Network comes from David Seymour’s 2021 Waitangi Day “State of the Nation” speech. Helpfully, you can read Seymour’s reference to “my old friends at the Atlas Network” at the ACT Party’s website, and on a video hosted on the ACT party’s Facebook page.

The interview continues:

FORBES: HAVE YOU SPOKEN OR TAKEN ADVICE FROM THEM OR ANY GROUP ASSOCIATED WITH THEM ABOUT THE TREATY?
SEYMOUR, EVEN MORE QUIETLY: NO.

This is not true, as Forbes quickly demonstrates. Seymour attended a Taxpayers’ Union (which is part of the Atlas Network) function in Wellington where British politician Lord Daniel Hannan – one of the principal architects of Brexit, and founding president of the Initiative for Free Trade (which is, if you haven’t guessed, part of the Atlas Network) – spoke specifically about the Treaty.

SEYMOUR: I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE DOING THIS. I’VE READ ABOUT THIS CONSPIRACY THEORY AND YOU’RE ACTUALLY RUNNING IT, BUT THAT’S COOL.
FORBES: WELL, NO, I’M JUST TRYING TO UNDERSTAND IT BECAUSE WE WENT TO AUSTRALIA AND WE ANALYSED…
SEYMOUR (INTERRUPTING): WE DID THE CONSPIRACY THEORY…
FORBES: WE ANALYSED THE YES CAMPAIGN OVER THERE AND WE SPOKE WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ABOUT THEIR FEARS, ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IN THE REFERENDUM. AND SO WHEN YOU CONSIDER, YOU KNOW, ACTUALLY YOU AND I SPOKE ABOUT IT. YOU SAID THAT YOU HAD MET LORD HANNON AND THEN THE TPU, THE TAXPAYER UNION, HAD INVITED YOU TO COME ALONG. AND HE SPOKE ABOUT THIS TREATY AND THE POSSIBILITY OF A REFERENDUM. SO ISN’T THAT IN FACT, YOU KNOW, THESE MOVEMENTS AND THESE GROUPS TALKING ABOUT OUR REFERENDUM?
SEYMOUR: WELL, GOING ALONG TO MEET SOMEONE WHO’S A FAMOUS FIGURE, IN WORLD POLITICS.
FORBES: WHAT DID HE COME TO NEW ZEALAND FOR?
SEYMOUR: I HAVE NO IDEA, BUT I WAS REALLY PLEASED TO…

(Seymour can find out what Hannan came to New Zealand for by either a.) consulting his memory of the speech he attended, b.) re-watching the speech Hannan gave on YouTube, or c.) by reading the video’s title, which is “Lord Hannan, Daniel speaks about equality, the Treaty and the Taxpayers’ Union in Wellington.” The video is helpfully subtitled throughout.)

FORBES: WELL, YOU WERE THERE.
SEYMOUR: I WAS REALLY PLEASED TO HAVE DINNER WITH THE GUY. I MEAN, HE’S, YOU KNOW, HE’S WORLD FAMOUS AS A POLITICIAN. YOU GET TO MEET HIM, HEAR WHAT HE HAS TO SAY.
FORBES: BUT YOU WENT ALONG TO THAT FUNCTION TO LISTEN TO HIM WHERE HE TALKED ABOUT THE MAGNA CARTA AND THE TREATIES AND…
SEYMOUR: OH MY GOD, THE MAGNA CARTA.
FORBES: HE DID. AND THEN…
SEYMOUR: SCANDALOUS.
FORBES: WELL, I’M NOT SAYING THAT THAT’S SCANDALOUS. I’M JUST SAYING THIS IS WHAT HE TALKED ABOUT. I LISTENED TO IT ONLINE BECAUSE IT WAS POSTED BY THE TPU. AND SO HE TALKED ABOUT THAT AND HE TALKED ABOUT THE DANGER OF THE MISINTERPRETATION OF TREATIES AND WHAT THEY MEANT. AND HE’S, YOU KNOW, AND HE ALSO SAYS, WHAT YOU SAY IS THAT THE JUDICIARY IS GETTING TOO INVOLVED OR THEY’RE MAKING THE INTERPRETATION OF IT AS TOO WIDE.
SEYMOUR: YOU DO KNOW THAT PEOPLE HAVE HAD CONCERNS ABOUT JUDICIAL ACTIVISM ALL OVER THE WORLD FOR ALL SORTS OF REASONS FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS, RIGHT?
FORBES: NO, I DON’T…
SEYMOUR (LAUGHING): AND YOU’RE TRYING TO SAY THAT THIS IS SOMEHOW SOME CRAZY CONSPIRACY THEORY. I MEAN, COME ON.
FORBES: NO, NO, I’M JUST ASKING THE QUESTION. I’M ASKING WHETHER YOU KNOW IF THERE’S ANY KIND OF CONNECTION. SO YOU’RE ANSWERING THERE IS NO CONNECTION?
SEYMOUR: I’VE TOLD YOU THAT THERE IS NO CONNECTION.
FORBES: KA PAI.
SEYMOUR: I’M JUST DISAPPOINTED IN YOU FOR PICKING UP A KNOWN CONSPIRACY THEORY THAT SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE SENT TO ME AND I NEVER THOUGHT I’D GET ASKED ABOUT IT BY YOU, BUT HEY, YOU GO.

To be very clear: there is a connection, and it’s a comprehensive one. Seymour’s lie is beyond the pale, even for a public habituated to lying politicians. He must know that he worked for Atlas Network think tanks for years, and that he was a guest at Atlas Network events. He must also know ACT party staff members worked for Atlas Network think tanks for years and attended Atlas Network events. I’ll happily grant that a global network of think tanks dedicated to spreading far-right thought around the world sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that’s not journalists’ fault; that’s the fault of the Atlas Network for giving itself a name that would make a Bond supervillain blush, seeding and partnering with over 500 think tanks worldwide, and making grandiose statements like this on its own website:

The truth is that this Dark Money has influence washed 3rd Party Groups and is providing each other insights as to what culture war buttons to push and use to inspire angry right voter turn out.

There is a fucking difference between a Left Wing Think Tank getting funding from Unions that wants to make workers rights stronger and Right Wing Think tanks funded by far right Billionaires, Tobacco, Oil and Coal using spite politics to ensure their interests and profit margins are expanded at the cost of the climate, the people and the entire fucking planet!

Monbiot at the Guardian makes this point…

And who, in turn, are the junktanks? Many refuse to divulge who funds them, but as information has trickled out we have discovered that the Atlas Network itself and many of its members have taken money from funding networks set up by the Koch brothers and other rightwing billionaires, and from oil, coal and tobacco companiesand other life-defying interests. The junktanks are merely the intermediaries. They go into battle on behalf of their donors, in the class war waged by the rich against the poor. When a government responds to the demands of the network, it responds, in reality, to the money that funds it.

…Oil, coal, tobacco, right wing billionaires, the fucking Koch brothers, dark money influencing our political system so much so that we see the exact same agenda being rolled out here!

The Atlas Network is funded by petrol oligarchs and climate change polluters who find the social media pressure points the way the old Cambridge Analytics did. They can micro target and mine resentment better than anyone else in the game, and they pass those findings along allowing for local think tanks to plot legislative change welded to the culture war pressure points and allow hate algorithms to do the rest.

This is happening right as Gerry Brownlee cloaks these lobbyists in secrecy, right when legislation allowing mining on conservation land is being cooked up alongside fast track powers to push them through alongside an attempt to dismantle the Treaty Principles so that Māori don’t need to be consulted when these Trans National’s start up.

And then the brave politician took food out of hungry kids mouths to give to the richest amongst us

The Left have no way to respond to the rise of ACT because it is their woke Wellington activists who are providing ACT with the culture war ammunition they are winning with.

The way you beat ACT is highlight their evil policy platform and attack them directly, instead the woke activists want to keep preaching the following:

ALL white people are irreversibly racist.

B-E-L-I-E-V-E ALL women that ALL men are rapists

and anyone supporting Free Speech is a uniform wearing Nazi who hates the Trans Community 

Until the Left can get over their cancel culture extremes, ACT will continue to grow and poison NZ with their hard right agenda.

I warned you all that the woke would drive voters into the arms of the extremist right, and it has happened.

 

 

 

33 COMMENTS

  1. The fact that ACT has to blatantly lie and attempt to cover up it true intentions says it all.
    As Key would have said, “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”.

    Apparenlty, they have a lot to fear. The truth being for starters.

    No normal human being with a fully functioning emotional quotient can support these sociopaths.

  2. How pathetic did Seymour and Paul Henry sound at that conference..

    And to think that people actually paid to go and listen to that brainless diatribe of verbal garbage.

    Silly Seymour’s on the way down…he ain’t goin’ nowhere…started ,farted slipped and fell….He believes himself to be the messiah…the font of all knowledge and wisdom…
    Such a grandiose vision of himself… the 8% of people that voted for him are waking up….they’ve seen enough of that child! The other 92% already knew that!!
    Wheeling out that old
    vacuous dinosaur, Henry, is just pure desperation…

    • How many 49.99% loans have been granted?

      Or indeed the equally predatory ‘interest free’ scams with triple digit establishment fees (i.e. you pay the equivalent of a double digit interest rate up front) with payment periods and missed payment fees calibrated to sting the less than 100% organized working poor?

      These usurers need to be driven out of business entirely.

    • correct how else are the rich pricks going to get my 2.15 a week tax cut off me .Best peice of legislation ever but I did see luxon say he was looking into repealing it so more poor people could borrow money because they cant get it from a real bank

      • Well they could get it from a real bank. There is nothing to stop Kiwi Bank, the government bank, from issuing 3% housing mortgages starting tomorrow.

  3. Looks like Seymour is easily flustered by a clever woman. He is incapable of answering questions without trying to belittle and divert the questioner. He blusters and prevaricates and tried to put Mihingarangi Forbes in the wrong. Good thing she has a clear mind and, having latched onto her prey, refused to be side-tracked.

    No wonder the inner workings of ACT is such an unhappy place to be. Their leader has no qualms about giving them wrong information and undermining them.
    Do any of them have a firm idea of what their party is about? When rules can be changed just like that, at the whim of the leader, sounds very dictatorial to me.
    We saw those election signs displayed around the South Waikato area in mid-August ’23, at the latest. Commented on it to an ACT voting friend who seemed to think it was fine.
    You’d have thought that if it was legal, both National and NZF would have had theirs up too. They wouldn’t have wanted Seymour stealing a march on them. And the other parties too, of course.

    • Well, Mohammed, the Nats are no better. Tim Costly, MP, claiming taxpayer dosh to live in one of his own several properties, is living up to his name and showing what a venal wee boondocks creep he is.

      Somewhere in my library there is a picture of Mabel Howard, Labour MP, living as the first woman Minister in what looks like a state house in Wellington’s eastern suburbs, probably Miramar.

      Perhaps it is a generational thing, this naked greed to try to enrich oneself at the taxpayers’ expense. English, Luxon, Bunkle and doubtless others we don’t know of, tried it. They shame us as people, but are too bird brained to see that they shame themselves and too entitled to care. Further, none of the aforementioned are likely to make the impact upon New Zealand politics that Mabel Howard did.

      • 20 MP are claiming the allowance for homes they live in while in Wellington.
        If they were not there the property would be let to recoup mortgage and rates. If they are entitled to it then why not claim it .Do you contribute $36000 to the country . He served our country in Afghanistan so deserves our respect

        • Nah Trev, it looks horrible. NATs cutting public spending and people’s livelihoods yet taking taxpayers money when there is no need is extremely hypocritical.
          Second time after Luxon and he had to admit it was fucking awful.
          Any government MP taking its is a disgrace. And don’t go down the entitled route, all those public servants were expected and entitled to keep their jobs until National couldn’t care less about them.

          • If you check Labour MP s are doing it as well.
            Many if those fired have only been their a short time as they were hired by a government the loves to have control. I feel sorry for anyone losing their job but often they find a job they enjoy more.They got redundancy so have time to look around.

            • Labour MPs didn’t promote axing jobs in the public sector, that’s the difference and they didn’t ruin lives, in fact improved wages, so no problem with them taking their entitlement.
              Right wing governments are the most controlling of all governments, fact.
              Oh they got redundancy so it’s all good? You are so arrogant and naive.

        • Yes, trevor the others claiming for housing may be no better, but they aren’t in the current government cutting thousands of jobs, making our public services worse and unable to deliver when we need them more than ever, effecting businesses (as less people to spend money) and claiming we all need to tighten our belt when they aren’t practicing what they preach. Remind me what are we paying our taxes for.

        • Many Maori served and died for our country and freedoms did our men get respect when they returned? nah! stop talking shit. This man took the job knowing he had to travel we have flash new roads to Waikanae and many NZers have to travel miles to work.

  4. 15% would be a good result for Act, but I’m hoping for 18 to 20% at the next election. David Seymour is the epitome of what the Maori should aspire to be. He represents the best of the Maori people that our country has ever produced.

  5. when the political class are corrupt people will turn to messiahs…it’s the fault of the two cheeks of the same arse system in nz

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