David Seymour launches attack on Greens, says they're 'doing bugger all for the environment'
ACT leader David Seymour is readying to fire shots across the Green Party bow, accusing them of "socialist economics" and neglecting the environment.
He said they also "just really piss me off".
The rank and file behind the single-MP party will gather at Auckland's exclusive Orakei Bay this weekend for their annual conference, which is expected to carry a heavy environmental theme.
It's understood Seymour will announce an environmental policy, geared around private enterprise playing a greater role in conservation.
It's unclear exactly what that will include, but is expected to centre on Government incentives to increase private environmental custodianship, and moves to better define ownership.
Seymour was keen to boost the party's environmental credentials, saying they had gone under-reported in the past.
And he took issue with the "hypocrisy of the Greens", monopolising environmental issues.
"They have squatted on this piece of political real estate, while doing bugger all for the environment and often doing things that are counter-productive, because they don't understand markets.
"They annoy me enormously, and I just think it's wrong because I actually do care about the environment and I think it's an important part of being a New Zealander," he said.
"What you've got is a group of people who are actually running a completely separate agenda which is socialist-economics, and neglecting [the environment].
"The reality is they just piss me off."
He cited a bill by Green MP Gareth Hughes last year, which sought to regulate the buy-back rate that electricity retailers charged people selling solar power back into the grid.
"If his bill had succeeded then you would have ended up with retailers saying we don't want to be in business, and if you'd set it too low then people considering installing solar panels would have said the returns aren't as good as they could be.
"It's one little example of a supposedly environmental party, with a supposedly environmental policy which if it had succeeded, would have actually reduced the uptake of solar one way or another, and increased emissions from the New Zealand electricity industry."
Green Party co-leader James Shaw declined to comment, but a Green party spokesperson said Seymour's gestures appeared token.
"ACT seems to be claiming some kind of road to Damascus epiphany that the environment is worth saving.
"David could start by supporting our call for a moratorium on further dairy conversions on the Waikato River to help make it swimmable again."
Seymour's keynote address would focus heavily on what he calls the four Ps of free-market environmentalism - private initiative, property rights, pricing and prosperity.
ACT members looking to flash their green side will also be able to book a ride in a Tesla S - an electric powered sports car that can outpace most high-performance sports vehicles.
Others lined up to speak at the conference would cover child poverty, the Government's position on superannuation and victim support.