April 30, 2018
Issue 4 2018
Pinch of Politics

Pinch of Politics Issue 4

Normally second-hand embarrassment isn’t a problem for me but after watching David Seymour’s performance in a promo clip for the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars NZ, in which he is a contestant, it is now my biggest issue. I’m not sure if I will ever be able to forget his blank eyes staring at me as he mouths “dance-off” slightly out of time.

As much fun as it would be to roast Seymour for the entirety of this column it sadly isn’t the point, his perceived irresponsibility is.

Seymour is the MP for Epsom a position he has held since September 2014. He is also the Leader and only member of the ACT Party.

So cool, right? Like who cares that a politician is on Dancing with the Stars? Could it be Seymour understands he has become slightly irrelevant, especially being cut from a coalition with National last year. Maybe he is looking for a way to get back into the public eye? I’m not sure if dancing in sequins was his specific plan, but heck, it’s getting us to talk about him. Essentially, many of us will now see him as a reality television star, instead of a Member of Parliament.

This means accountability changes and the standards he is held to are going to be different.

Seymour’s Twitter account has been a flurry of activity since he was announced as a contestant on the hotly anticipated Dancing with the Stars series. Replying to a couple of run of the mill keyboard warriors, Seymour unapologetically told them, “You wouldn’t survive the first practise of DWTS, and I’m going to raise more for charity in a few weeks than a miserable loser like you will give in your life.” Now, he’s probably not wrong. A lot of us will never donate thousands of dollars to charity in our lifetime, let alone compete in a dancing competition for charity. But, that doesn’t excuse his language or attitude.

If Seymour is spending time attacking online commentators, polishing off his shoes for a busy schedule of dance training and filming, what time will he have left to be the voice for the people of Epsom or be an effective member of parliament? Seymour isn’t a huge player in government, but he is there and participating on Dancing with the Stars will give huge possibility to the emergence of conflicting interests.

Seymour isn’t the only politician to compete in Dancing with the Stars, Marama Fox is also on this show. The major difference being Fox is an ex-politician. Fox is now developing a company to build affordable housing for New Zealanders. She may still have loyalties and social influence, but she now has nothing to do with how our country is run, Seymour still does.

Watching Seymour dance on television will be fun for all of us, but we have to acknowledge he has an official position in our government – his main job is being a politician - not a slightly disappointing tango dancer covered in glitter and sequins.