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Dunne challenges National on Maori seats policy

Tuesday, 13 September 2005

Dunne challenges National on 'divisive' Maori seats policy

United Future leader Peter Dunne today called on National to drop its "totally divisive" policy of simply getting rid of the Maori seats, saying United Future had "very serious concerns" about the damage such a unilateral decision would have on New Zealand's social fabric.

"Their policy is a blunt tool and it's a recipe for serious racial disharmony at a time when we as a nation need to be building bridges rather than burning them," Mr Dunne said.

"United Future does believe the Maori seats should go - but we don't support a crash-through-or-burn approach to an important and sensitive constitutional issue."

Mr Dunne said that there should be substantial consultation before any decision is made and Maori needed to be strongly involved.

"And frankly, this is the kind of issue that should go to a referendum," he said.

"In the end, a bunch of largely white MPs should not just decide to get rid of the Maori seats. I think, as a nation, we would regret such a decision being made in that way," Mr Dunne said.

ENDS

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