Politicians seldom get to anoint a successor. That was especially so for me. Readers may recall I left with a bit of a hiss and a roar at a time I least expected it.
But if I were to appoint a successor it would be David Seymour. As it happens, the Act Party has chosen Seymour as their candidate for Epsom. I met Seymour more than 10 years ago. He impressed me by having built his own car as a high school student. He built a Lotus 7 replica, beginning with a piece of steel and a book. It still runs and is registered. It’s fast.
Now that’s cool.
We often say young people have no discipline or dedication. But how many of us have built a car from scratch? We say, too, that young people only look out for themselves. But Seymour was also a Lifeline volunteer and coached rugby. He seemed a little too good to be true.
And in a way he was. He was a nuisance. He was always pestering me with questions about economics, political theory and philosophy. I wanted him delivering pamphlets but had to humour him by answering him as best I could.
I gave him a reading list. He read the lot then pestered me with questions about them.
Seymour has an engineering degree, has worked as a policy wonk in North America, and has returned to New Zealand to rescue Act and ensure John Key gets a third term.
He has a lot on his shoulders. Act has had to win Epsom these past two elections to ensure Key is prime minister. That’s the nature of MMP. Epsom matters to our future.
Seymour is 31. That’s a plus. We need young people in Parliament. They have an immediate contribution to make and we need them to learn the ropes to become tomorrow’s leaders. His job is to convince Epsom voters to vote for him to be their MP. It’s a tough job. I know. I also know the toughness of earning that vote makes for a good MP. The tremendous effort required makes you appreciate the privilege. And you know you must work hard to keep it. Every constituent counts.
And Seymour has been doing it the old fashioned way – trying to knock on every door in the electorate.