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Meeting With Maori Members On Maori Seats

20 May 2001

New Zealand First Meeting With Maori Members To Clarify Maori Seat Position - Peters

The Rt Hon Winston Peters MP, Leader of New Zealand First, today said that he met with Maori Members of the Party last weekend in Rotorua to discuss New Zealand First’s position on the Maori Seats in the leadup to the next election.

“Last week’s meeting will be followed up with meetings with other Maori members around the country with the next meeting expected to be in the South Island in early July.

“We have discussed the effectiveness of the Maori Seats under MMP and the degree to which they have delivered for Maori. We have also acknowledged how important the issues of race relations and national unity are to New Zealand in 2001 and, consequently, why this decision is such a critical one for the Party and New Zealand.

“The Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Bill, presently passing through the House, is a divisive and retrograde step seeking to implement in 2001, at the local government level, a separate franchise initiated at the national level 134 years ago. The Select Committee Chairman Mr Barnett says it will be a precedent for all local government and the sooner New Zealanders are warned of the dangers in this sectionalist approach to politics the better.

“As a Party that is committed to bringing New Zealand together as one family and one country this decision to examine the Maori Seats is one of the most important we will make before the Election and we will be consulting widely with our party membership before finalising our policy,” said Mr Peters.

ENDS

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