INDEPENDENT NEWS

ACT - Abolition Of Maori Seats

Published: Wed 8 Aug 2001 02:11 PM
ACT Will Continue To Press For Abolition Of Maori Seats
ACT will continue to press for abolition of Maori seats ' despite the majority decision of the MMP Review Committee to retain them, Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said.
"I'm disappointed we couldn't get the support of other political parties on the committee. The Maori seats are not needed. MMP has resulted in substantial representation of Maori outside of the Maori seats.
"Racially reserved seats now breach the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and are contrary to the longer term interests of Maori and all other New Zealanders. We should vote as one people regardless of skin colour.
"Parliamentary Members elected by the general electorate have to be considerate of the interests of all New Zealanders ' and that is the incentive we should be reinforcing for Parliament.
"The US Supreme Court discovered when it forced racial 'districting' for US elections that it just produces politicians who focus on race divisions, not the interests shared as citizens. The US has abandoned that experiment.
"Race in politics is a demon wherever it is let loose. Racial constituencies simply foster separatism.
"The Labour Government has announced the number of Maori seats will rise to seven at the next election.
"ACT believes the increasing numbers of people of claimed Maori descent and increased registration on the Maori role are a product of deliberate state promotion of racial distinctions. Taxpayers' money is used to promote separatism," Mr Franks said.
On the committee's decision to retain the current 120 MP Parliament, Mr Franks said ACT had in principle supported the number of MPs being reduced to 99.
"However it was clear that other parties would never support reducing the size of Cabinet. Reduction of the Cabinet size would be fundamental to maintaining the increased scrutiny of executive decisions that has been achieved under MMP.
"Too much power would be vested with Cabinet and not enough with Select Committees. We asked party members for comment on the choice and we agreed in the end to go with the status quo," Mr Franks said.
Ends

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