2 Apr 2019

David Seymour misses chance to slow gun legislation debate

5:48 pm on 2 April 2019

ACT Party leader David Seymour has failed in an attempt to block MPs from passing new gun legislation quicker than usual because he was late to the House after talking to media about his plans.

ACT Party leader David Seymour

ACT Party leader David Seymour Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

Mr Seymour said he intended to force the government to use a device called "urgency" to pass the proposed law through all three stages by next Friday.

The ACT leader planned to block an application for leave of the whole House on the legislation, saying the pace was illogical and hazardous.

But he was not in the House when the vote on the extended sitting hours took place this afternoon because he had been talking to media outside.

Mr Seymour had said gun laws must change, but it was deeply undemocratic to rush them through in less than two weeks' time.

Mr Seymour told Checkpoint it was a bit embarrassing to miss his chance but would not change the outcome.

The fact that the vote was taken while he was not there showed how it was just he alone who was standing up to the government, he said.

"People do want public consultation, people do want laws to be made properly.

"And if they believe that gun laws are important then they believe that is important to get it right.

"I don't think you can do that in nine days."

He said especially during difficult times and with important issues it was necessary to take the time to consult the public and scrutinise legislation properly.

He was one minute late because he said he was talking to journalists, something that was important to do, which was communicate with the public of New Zealand through the media.

He told Checkpoint with Lisa Owen if she wanted "to make the whole interview about [being late] we can, but I'm actually keen to move onto more important topics here".

Asked whether he thought that the government had sped up proceedings to take advantage of his absence he said Leader of the House Chris Hipkins was a "crafty guy" who knew the rules of the House well and "probably did" notice Mr Seymour was not there.

Mr Seymour was then asked to explain whether he was opposed to changing the gun laws or just the process by which it was being done.

He replied he was glad to be able to speak about the substance of the issue.

He started to reply but then ended the interview because he said he had an opportunity to speak in the House and did not want to miss it.

"I'm quite serious, if you're going to spend the whole interview attacking me about being late to the house, you've got to let me go," he told Checkpoint.