David Seymour says the economy, Covid his focus not Māori Language Week

By Heta Gardiner
Photo / File

Although many politicians took the opportunity during Māori language week to talk about the importance of language revitalisation, Act leader David Seymour took a different approach.

While he said he has been speaking “a little more reo than usual,” Seymour felt there were other more pressing issues to address.

When speaking of Māori Language Week during his daily media stand up, Seymour said “I appeared on Māori TV and I was quite proud of how I was doing with my place names and pronunciation. But look, ultimately, we’ve been focused on Covid and the economy and debt, something that is a problem in every language.”

Seymour came under fire recently after sharing a priority vaccine code for Māori on his social media accounts. He doubled down on the stance, saying in a statement, “The virus doesn't discriminate on race, so neither should the rollout.” He has also come to blows with the Māori Party over its petition to have New Zealand’s name changed to Aotearoa.

The Act leader took the opportunity when fronting the media to suggest that Auckland schools should have been given the option to move the school holidays forward while still in lockdown.

“There are clearly some schools that wanted to shift, others had already made plans around not shifting. The only correct answer was to allow schools to make their own decisions, based on their plans in their communities,” Seymour said. 

The government announced on Friday that the school holidays will not be moved forward, saying it was a decision that considered a wide range of factors and the final call was made in the best interests of the students and staff.