Seymour to be guest speaker

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Act Party leader David Seymour is to speak at a New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association North Otago meeting on August 26.

The high-profile guest was secured by branch president Nathan Barnes, who approached the outspoken Epsom MP about coming to Oamaru.

Somewhat to his surprise, Mr Barnes received a reply directly from Mr Seymour a fortnight ago, saying he would come to Oamaru for the meeting.

The subject matter would be up to Mr Seymour, Mr Barnes said. He expected it to include “firearms and free speech”, among other topics.

Mr Seymour was opposed to rushed gun law reforms after the Christchurch mosque massacres and was the only MP to vote against the first round of them.

“At the end of the day, even if you don’t vote for him, he’s stood up and said the Government’s going about it the wrong way,” Mr Barnes said.

Research showed good reviews of meetings where Mr Seymour had spoken, so Mr Barnes hoped the Oamaru event would be informative and entertaining.

It would start at 6pm in the Oamaru Club and was likely to attract an audience wider than the deerstalkers’ branch membership, he said.

That numbered about 250 and more people were joining “every other week”.

Mr Barnes wondered if that was in response to likely future requirements to belong to a gun club before being allowed to own firearms.

The association did not just advocate for firearms owners but also for the general public’s access to the outdoors, he said.

Department of Conservation land was there for everyone to enjoy.

“We are conservationists,” Mr Barnes said of recreational hunters.

He said hunters harvested pest species including rabbits, deer, tahr and chamois for fresh meat and helped to keep their populations in check.