Act leader David Seymour puts the disproportionate numbers of new Covid 19 cases among Māori and Pacific people down to the variables that impact these communities such as housing arrangements, underlying health conditions, resources and access to healthcare.
“Also you’ve got a healthcare system that is a one-size-fits-all and Māori being a minority are never going to win in a one-size-fits-all.”
“Start having social services that are designed for all the people instead of a one-size-fits-all system, which has failed Māori in say, education for 180 years,” he said.
Back in September, Seymour was slammed for publically sharing access codes used to help boost Māori vaccination rates.
In an interview with Te Ao Māori News, he says he has no regrets for publicly sharing the access codes used by Te Whānau o Waipareira and says he probably did the trust a favour.
“I think I probably did a lot more to popularise the code than they ever did. If they thought it was a good idea they should be grateful for my help," he said.
He also agrees with the Ministry of Health’s decision to not release all Māori data to Whānau Ora providers, saying Māori shouldn’t be treated differently because they chose to tick the Māori box when they signed up to a GP.
“What that is really saying is if I tick the Māori box, I have less right to privacy as an individual than I do if I don’t tick the Māori box and that is wrong.”
Seymour has seen a rise in poll support as preferred prime minister and an increase in popularity for his party. He’s confident that the figures will see even more Act MPs make it to the House at the next election
“We’re higher than we were at the start of the year and before the election and we’d get anything from 13 to 22 in Parliament depending on which poll. Where we are now is just the starting point”
Asked if a National Party, Act and Te Pāti Māori coalition was possible, he says although he doesn’t agree with Te Pāti Māori’s characterisation of tangata tiriti and tangata whenua, for a coalition partnership, "never say never," he said.
“Rāwiri Waititi wants a world where there is tangata whenua here by right and tangata tiriti, I don’t accept that”.
Reclaiming his whakapapa
“I guess I have whakapapa on both sides of that relationship. I believe in a society where people are born free and equal and have the same political rights.”
Seymour has been on a journey of reclaiming his whakapapa to Ngāpuhi and Te Tai Tokerau. Although he has never visited his marae, Tauwhara in Waimate North, he says he would like to go
“My family has been reconnecting since 1987 when my great uncle has discovered our whakapapa and over that time we’ve been gradually moving toward learning more about it.”