INDEPENDENT NEWS

Maori Party welcomes Labour's 'Memory-Gain'

Published: Mon 3 Nov 2008 10:26 AM
Maori Party welcomes Labour's 'Memory-Gain'
Sunday 2 November 2008
Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party
Tariana Turia is delighted that Labour's researchers have uncovered the fatal slips and omissions that have characterized Labour's recent positions on the entrenchment of the Maori seats.
In 2001, Labour stated that it "supported entrenchment and considered that Maori electoral provisions should enjoy the same level of protection as the general seats" (Report of the MMP Committee; August 2001)".
"Yet four years later, when the Maori Party first announced our position on the Maori seats, Labour announced "it did not have a position on entrenchment"" said Mrs Turia (10 August 2005).
"So I must admit I was not surprised when Helen Clark said last week, that "there's obviously no need to entrench them with a Labour government" as it fitted with her 2005 statements (26 October 2008).
"With such mixed messages being conveyed about a vital constitutional issue for Aotearoa, I am, however, delighted that the work has been put in, to tidy up their key lines on this issue" said Mrs Turia.
"This morning's announcement on television that Labour now considered "there is a strong case for entrenchment" and that entrenchment "sends a strong moral signal" is a much stronger position than their previous statements that suggested entrenchment was irrelevant.
"We recall also that in that same 2001 review, that both Labour and National considered that separate Maori electorates could be seen as one of the distinctive elements of the New Zealand MMP system and should remain until such time as Maori determine the seats are no longer required or seen as desirable" said Mrs Turia.
"Labour and National also both agreed that the Maori electoral option was "effectively a referendum on the Maori seats and considered this was the best way to determine whether they should continue and how many there should be".
"It is obviously pleasing to see the efforts that Labour has made to brush up on its positions on the Maori seats, and to ensure consistency with its earlier statements" said Mrs Turia. "It would be great to see Mr Key following the same lead".
ENDS

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