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Maori Seats A Public Matter

Maori Seats A Public Matter

If National Leader Dr Don Brash agreed that a referendum would be part of abolishing Maori seats, he is showing a respect for Constitutional principle that has been missing for too long, ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"ACT strongly rejects the Labour/Green approach to the Constitution, which sees it as the trophy of a temporary bare political majority," Mr Franks said.

"We sought a referendum on the sacking of the Privy Council - our highest court - and were incensed at the Duynhoven amendment to the Electoral Act, where basic principles were trashed on tiny majorities.

"Maori seats aren't entrenched in the Electoral Act - like some other provisions requiring a super majority to change. This is only because Labour wants to be able to vote for more Maori seats, as it has for separate local authority seats, without more than a bare majority.

"ACT would like to get rid of this race discrimination as quickly, but believes principles only survive if you stick to them - even when it's not in your interests. Abolishing Maori seats should require the level of broad support of a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament, or a super majority referendum, and we are confident the public will vote for a colourblind State.

"A simple referendum, combined with an MMP vote, could be problematic. Some who would vote to cleanse our statute book of this race relic might do so because the number of Maori in general seats shows it is unnecessary. They have seen MMP deliver that. They would want to know the result of the MMP vote before voting on Maori seats," Mr Franks said.

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