Seymour calls NZ First MP a 'f***ing idiot'

Updated: David Seymour flips over NZ First's policy to nationalise the energy sector.

ACT party leader David Seymour has called NZ First MP Richard Prosser a “f**king idiot” in an attack on his comments about renationalising the energy sector.

“The idea that you’d have somebody who pretends to hold the balance of power to come and tell you that a stock trading at $5.85 is going to be now nationalised at $3.10 and you better all sell it … well, I realise that in a role such as mine that you are supposed to have a certain amount of decorum. But that makes me really angry – what a f***ing idiot,” Mr Seymour said, referring to Mr Prosser's earlier comment for investors to start dumping their Contact shares.

"That’s someone who can barely manage his own diet and exercise regime, and thinks he’s going to be managing a ministerial post and very well could be.”

Mr Seymour made the comments during his leader’s address this afternoon at the Deloitte-BusinessNZ election conference in Wellington.

He also spent a lot of his time taking aim at the government over New Zealand’s housing market.

At the moment, 54% of the average person’s income goes on housing, with the remaining 46% covering everything else.

“That’s down from 27% in 1991 – we need a functioning housing market.”

Earlier today, Mr Prosser said if his party were in government, the energy companies would be bought for the same price they were sold for.

The National-led government sold down its shareholding in Mercury Energy, Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy to 51% under a mixed ownership scheme in 2013 and 2014.

The partial privatisation, which also included shares in Air New Zealand, raised $4.7 billion when the shares were sold to investors and floated on the stock exchange.

The companies have since improved their financial performance, progressively raising dividend payouts.

“I’m going to start off by throwing a cat among the pigeons,” Mr Prosser told an audience of business people.

“We have a policy to bring the major generation assets that were built by taxpayers over the previous decades back under a single state-controlled umbrella.

“If you have shares in Contact, get rid of them now,” he said referring to Contact Energy which was fully privatised back in 1999.

His comments were met with a concerned murmur from conference goers.

When asked by a person from Mercury about the policy and how the party plans to fund the share purchases, Mr Prosser said it would be done “over a period of time.”

“We’re not going to be writing a cheque today and trying to cash it tomorrow,” he says.

“There are many ways to do that – long-term infrastructure bonds, the Super Fund, there are revenue streams that are available to the government for this sort of thing.”

Recent polls indicate NZ First is likely to hold the balance of power after the election.

Thousands of retail investors own shares in the electricity generators as well as most of the main KiwiSaver providers.

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