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Maori seats safeguard against majority's tyranny

Maori seats safeguard against tyranny of the majority

The Maori seats must be retained because they remain an important safeguard against the tyranny of the majority, Associate Maori Affairs Minister and MP for Tamaki Makaurau, John Tamihere said.

Mr Tamihere said he believed that as the debate on Maori representation evolved, eventually the Maori seats might be abolished, "but, as usual, Bill's timing is supremely wrong."

"At present, the Maori seats remain an important safeguard to effective and fair representation for Maori in Parliament. We have in place a framework to acknowledge and resolve grievances, and as the debate evolves along that track, that's when Maori can look at the significance of the Maori seats."

"We are still going through that process, and till it is concluded, the Maori seats should stay."

In any case, Mr English was motivated by desperation in a bid to gain minority support, Mr Tamihere said.

"You've got to be desperate when you have given up on gaining the support of the mainstream, and have resorted to stealing ideas off Winston Peters. Mr English has clearly determined he can't compete against the Government, so is instead competing against NZ First."

Meanwhile Maori support for continuation of the Maori seats was clearly expressed through increasing numbers choosing to vote on the Maori roll, thereby increasing the number of Maori seats from four in 1993, to five in 1996, six in 1999, and now seven seats, Mr Tamihere said.

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