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ACT Tautoko For National's Kaupapa

ACT Tautoko For National's Kaupapa

ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks today welcomed the National Party's call to abolish Maori seats, saying he hoped it marked the end of two decades of woolly thinking, collusion with Labour on Treaty issues, and disastrous outcomes for Maori.

"Reservation of seats for Maori is the essence of race discrimination in New Zealand. For years, National and Labour have excused the racism and `bigotry of low expectations' which now permeates our law," Mr Franks said.

"There is no evidence that separate representation benefits anyone but the Labour Party. It has tossed blankets and beads of policy influence to a tiny Maori political elite without being required to measure the practical effects. If outcomes are the measure of policy, the current abysmal social statistics speak for themselves.

"The seats have encouraged the selective targeting of voters with taxpayer money. The unease of ordinary Maori over, for example, the effects on their families of welfare without work, was smothered in money. In effect, Labour bought guaranteed seats with taxpayers' money.

"No amount of wishful thinking, or good intentions, can disguise rights or privileges - based on inherited skin-colour - as anything other than race discrimination. And further, when the only justification for more than 100 years has been that it helps an otherwise `weaker' people, it is deeply patronising.

"The open-ended provision of such seats has been a long-standing breach of New Zealand's obligations under the International Covenant for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

"For National to now show this change of heart is a recognition that ordinary New Zealanders are fed up with blatant race discrimination. Hopefully, National will now endorse the rest of ACT's principles, to end all Government discrimination on the grounds of race - including university quotas, hospital preferences based on anything other than need, and Resource Management Act veto powers which have become extortion opportunities.

"ACT's verdict on National's re-thinking? Good, as far as it goes! Let's see whether it goes far enough to be truly principled. If so, we'll be there to hold them to it," Mr Franks said.

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