National Party leader Christopher Luxon won’t be drawn on how he might work with the ACT party and its leader David Seymour if his party wins next year’s election.

Christopher Luxon and David SeymourNational leader Christopher Luxon, left, and ACT leader David Seymour. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Luxon confirmed yesterday his deputy, Nicola Willis, will be finance minister if his party wins the election, and ruled out Seymour taking the role.

But Seymour said yesterday that was a premature move. “It’s a promise that he can’t actually keep because he doesn’t even know what the election results are,” he said.

Speaking to Morning Report, Luxon said it was “very premature” to talk about partnership arrangements, and he would not play the “rule in, rule out game” regarding Seymour as finance minister.

“All I’m going to say is we’re going to be focused on what we’re focused on in the National Party right now.

“We’re 18 months out from an election. Any talk of a coalition or possible coalition arrangements is very, very premature and very, very hypothetical.”

“From my perspective … the bottom line is I’m interested in making sure that this Budget actually delivers for the squeezed middle, that’s what I’m focused on.”

Luxon said he would also not comment on the future of the ACT party electorate deal in Epsom, in which the National Party has encouraged voters to use their candidate vote for ACT’s candidate for years. Seymour has held that seat since 2014.

“We are not going to have the conversation. It’s too far away, too premature.”

Luxon said he was focused on next week’s Budget announcement, and how spending would help what he called “the squeezed middle”.

“We obviously had a pretty good policy, which is we think adjusting the taxation threshold by the amount of inflation, just a very simple pragmatic, not ideological, just a very basic idea, would help the most amount of people the easiest way.”

Luxon said National would have a fully-costed fiscal and tax plan when they go to the election next year.

Recent polls show that National is overtaking Labour, but they would still need to partner with ACT or the Māori Party to form a government.

Earlier this week, the ACT party proposed an alternative budgetvowing to return the government to surplus within a year.

Pro-choice and anti-abortion activist rally outside of the US Supreme Court on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC.Protesters rally against possible abortion law changes in Washington, DC. Photo: 2022 Getty Images

Abortion debate ‘settled’ – Luxon

Luxon insists that National will not change New Zealand’s abortion laws, despite possible changes to laws in the United States.

The US Supreme Court looks set to overturn Roe vs Wade, which established a woman’s right to abortion nearly 50 years ago. It is prompting concerns other countries may be influenced to take a look at their own abortion laws.

In 2020, changes were made to New Zealand’s abortion laws, including removing it from the crimes act.

Luxon has previously said that he personally is against abortion.

However, Luxon the issue in New Zealand was now settled.

“As we’ve talked before I’m not really that interested in the US, I’m interested in New Zealand. We have settled our abortion laws in the last Parliament and they will not be changing under my government.”

However, Dr Shane Reti, who would become National’s Health Minister if they won the election, has been more equivocal.

“We’ll have to see what the New Zealand situation, if that might be influenced in any way by that decision making, but I come back I’m not going to offer any comment on what they do in another sovereign jurisdiction,” he said yesterday.

Dr Reti would not rule out narrowing access and said it would be up to the caucus.

“That would always be a decision for caucus, and so I’m not going to offer a position here now, but we are mindful in watching what happens with Roe vs Wade.”

Luxon again affirmed he would not change the existing laws.

“I want to be crystal clear with you as I have on a number of interviews with you,” he told Morning Report.

“The answer is really simple: our abortion laws were settled in the last Parliament.

“It was a big topic of conversation, there was lots of debate about it, the different positions were presented, and we settled on those laws. And they are not changing under my government.”