Electoral Apartheid Disastrous Step Backwards
Change of Voter Entitlement Advocated - Peters
The Rt Hon Winston Peters MP, Leader of New Zealand First and MP for Tauranga, today said that the Report of the Justice and Electoral Law Select Committee yesterday recommending proceeding to separate Maori constituencies for Environment Bay of Plenty is electoral apartheid and a disastrous step backwards.
“ Creating separate Maori constituencies at the local body level when South Africa has dismantled its system of apartheid shows how out of whack Labour and the Alliance, supported by the Greens, have become. Moreover it demonstrates the indolence that has now become the norm of representation in Parliament’s Maori seats.
“Why create two separate Maori seats when there are already two Maori on the Council elected by all voters, of the twelve seats, and end up with two separate Maori seats of sixteen that will be there in the future under this empowering legislation? That is not increasing Maori representation – it is diminishing it, but it is separatism and that is clearly what the Government wants. It ghettoises Maori representation in these seats and, worse still, it shows how idle sentiment is now a substitute for hard work by some Maori MPs.
“If they really wanted to help the Maori people in the Western Bay then the Maori Members would have pushed for a change to allow shareholders in Maori corporations to have the same voting rights as those unit owners in a body corporate property. That would mean that hitherto unfranchised Maori would get a vote based on land ownership which is the only fair and constitutional measure to address the issue of fair representation. Instead, the Government, supported by the Greens, have mindlessly gone down the path of apartheid and ethnic politics which can only be disastrous for Maori and all New Zealanders,” said Mr Peters.