EMBARGOED UNTIL MONDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 2014
Will the next Government kill off the Māori seats?
Māori Party Co-leader, Te Ururoa Flavell says the Māori seats in Parliament are in danger of disappearing if the latest polls come to fruition. The polls show an increase in support for the Conservatives and New Zealand First who have both campaigned on getting rid of the Māori seats.
“Māori voters need to look at the latest poll results and wake up. The only way to retain those seats is for Māori voters to come home to the Māori Party. We call on all Māori to stand together, to fight for our right to representation, and to ensure our mokopuna will always have a party and electorate seats in their name.
“Conservative parties regard Māori representation in local and national government as a separatist threat. Fair-minded New Zealanders know that this is a ridiculous claim, we’ve had Māori seats in Parliament since 1867 and the country is richer for it. Without guaranteed Māori representation in Parliament our ability to protect Māori interests and rights in this country would be severely diminished,” says Mr Flavell.
The Electoral Act 1993, and its predecessor, the Māori Representation Act 1867, have always provided for a separate Māori polity in the form of a Māori electoral roll. The Local Government Act 2002 also allows for Māori representation. Just this week, the New Plymouth District Council move a step closer to introducing a Māori ward in time for the 2016 local body elections which Winston Peters said was “a disastrous path” for this country.
“Since we’ve been in Government, the National Party has taken the abolition of these seats off the agenda but if parties like New Zealand First, Act and the Conservatives had their way the Māori seats would disappear. On current polling, it’s unlikely that the Labour Party which supports the Māori seats will lead the next Government, certainly not without New Zealand First on board. The Māori Party has fought too hard over these last ten years to get into a negotiating position with any government to now watch the power of the Māori electoral seats being eroded,” says Mr Flavell.