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Debate On Maori Representation Is Hypocritical


Media Release


20 November 2002


Debate On Maori Representation Is Hypocritical Says Mark


National and Labour’s debate on Maori representation at central and local government levels is pretentious and condescending, said New Zealand First MP Ron Mark.

Mr Mark said that under MMP, both parties had all the tools they needed to ensure that Maori had fair representation – if that is what they really wanted.

“For central government, New Zealanders of Maori descent can be placed high on the list or in a “safe” seat while at local government level, Maori candidates can be selected for wards where it is known they can win.”

Mr Mark knows Labour has deliberately refrained from selecting Maori to stand for election at Christchurch City Council and Canterbury Regional Council.

“Now they are imposing a form of apartheid on local government by setting aside seats for Maori. It is tokenism that Maori have never asked for.

“This move by Labour to provide special Maori seats at council tables is more about protecting the party’s current council cronies who have held seats half their lives than it has to do with empowering Maori.

“The word to use is hypocrisy,” said Mr Mark. “No one will be fooled.”

ENDS

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