Election 2020

Euthanasia, gun advocates high on Act list

A lead campaigner for the End of Life Choice Bill is the ACT Party's new deputy leader, while a firearms lobbyist has taken the third place on the party list, Marc Daalder reports

The top of the ACT Party's new list highlights the work leader David Seymour has done during this parliamentary term.

Brooke van Velden, who campaigned for the End of Life Choice Bill, worked as Seymour's policy and media director and ran for ACT in Auckland Central last election, is the party's new deputy leader. Nicole McKee, a firearms lobbyist and spokesperson for the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (COLFO), is third on the party list.

The promotion for van Velden and the addition of McKee indicates ACT will continue to emphasise its work on the twin high-profile issues of euthanasia and firearms. The End of Life Choice Bill was a members' bill introduced by Seymour who, with van Velden's aid, shepherded the proposal through Parliament to a referendum that will be on the ballot on September 19.

Seymour also garnered media attention for his opposition to the Government's gun law reforms. Seymour was the only person to oppose the first tranche of reforms, but was joined by National in fighting the second package, which was passed two weeks ago.

Firearms owners have expressed disappointment in New Zealand First's support for the gun control measures and National's support for the initial banning of military-style semiautomatic weapons, and could be a constituency targeted by ACT.

ACT's list is likely to be subjected to significant interest, as the party is currently slated to bring three to four MPs into Parliament according to recent polls, as long as Seymour can retain his Epsom electorate seat.

In the latest 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll, released on Thursday evening, ACT was at 3 percent, meaning Seymour would bring van Velden, McKee and former police officer and free speech advocate Chris Baillie, fourth on the list, into the House. The poll even had ACT ahead of New Zealand First.

In a statement, ACT Party president Tim Jago said the list "will impress voters of every persuasion. We have candidates from all walks of life. People who have built their homes, families and businesses and who want to protect and enhance our free society."

If ACT's share of the vote continues to grow, it could see fifth place candidate Simon Court as an MP. Court is a civil and environmental engineer who could speak to infrastructure issues. He also intends to take a disability perspective, as his youngest son has Down Syndrome.

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