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ACT Seeks Referendum On Race-Based Seats

The ACT Party is today calling for a referendum on race-based electoral seats.

ACT Deputy Leader Ken Shirley is drafting a private members’ bill which would put mechanisms in place for a referendum into race-based seats in both local government and central government.

“The Labour/Alliance Government is dragging us down the path to apartheid without consultation. ACT finds that offensive and we believe most New Zealanders do too. There’s no room for separatism in a multi-racial society such as ours’.

“The fact that central Government currently has race-based rolls and constituencies is no justification for the coalition’s local government initiative in the Bay of Plenty. Now we are told Bay of Plenty will be a role model to be extended across local government throughout New Zealand.

“The Parliamentary Maori Roll and constituencies were introduced as a temporary measure during the Land Wars of the 1860s at a time when only property owing males over 21 had the right to vote.

“We have come a long way since then and all reviews of our electoral system have recommended the abolishment of the Maori seats, the most recent being the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform which reported in 1986.

“The division of the democratic process on racial grounds is a very unwise initiative and will inevitably lead to a divisive polarisation of society with divided responsibilities and accountabilities.

“The coalition has become the ‘We Know Best Government’ – constantly telling us what we should and should not do. They have not asked the public if it wants apartheid. ACT intends to give all the people of this country the right to a say on this crucial issue,” Ken Shirley said.


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