Politics | Whakatau 2023

Seymour slammed over Ministry for Pacific Peoples comment

Act Party leader David Seymour.

Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni has slammed comments by Act leader David Seymour, in which he said he dreams of sending pyrotechnic terrorist Guy Fawkes, into the Ministry for Pacific Peoples.

During a conversation on Newstalk ZB, Seymour reiterated his commitment to dismantling the Ministry of Pacific Peoples. However, his remarks took an alarming turn when he humorously suggested, “In my fantasy, we’d send a guy called Guy Fawkes in there and it’d be all over, but we’ll probably have to have a more formal approach than that.”

The allusion to historical figure Guy Fawkes, notorious for attempting to blow up Westminster Palace in London in 1605, triggered an immediate backlash.

The Deputy Prime Minister has fiercely condemned Act leader David Seymour's statement, in which he envisioned sending the pyrotechnic figure Guy Fawkes into the Ministry for Pacific Peoples.

While Seymour insisted it was a jest, Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni criticised the comments as unnecessary and accused Seymour of resorting to divisive tactics.

“David Seymour’s remarks are in line with his history of race-baiting and creating divisions, particularly concerning Pasifika and Māori communities,” Sepuloni said.

She emphasised the role of government agencies, like the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, in addressing enduring disparities within society.

As the controversy deepened, Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman entered the fray.

“Just a man who received donations from known white supremacists making a ‘joke’ about his fantasy to bomb brown people institutions,” she tweeted.

The controversy emerged against the backdrop of reports revealing that the ministry had spent almost $40,000 on a farewell event for its former chief executive, Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae.

Recent polling by Newshub-Reid Research and Roy Morgan indicates that a National-ACT coalition could potentially form a government if an election were held today.

However, the Roy Morgan poll suggests that these parties might require support from Te Pāti Māori or NZ First to achieve the necessary parliamentary majority of over 50 percent to govern.

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