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Divided electoral system no way forward

Don Brash MP - National Party Leader

2 April 2006

Divided electoral system no way forward

National Party Leader Don Brash says Labour is endorsing state sanctioned separatism with a multi-million dollar campaign that ultimately encourages a racially divided electoral model.

"National says there is no future for a racially divided electoral system in New Zealand. All New Zealanders deserve equality before the law and democratic equality."

Dr Brash is commenting on the campaign by the electoral office to get Maori onto the Maori electoral roll.

"Do we really want to raise our children in a country that is served by an electoral system that divides, rather than unites us?

"That is the message being sent with this electoral campaign which sets out to highlight racial differences rather than promote our shared values.

"All Maori should enrol to vote. Participation is the most important thing and the Electoral Commission must encourage that.

"But the Commission should also reassure tax-paying New Zealanders that their recruiters will play with a straight bat at face-to-face meetings in shopping malls, workplaces and other public gatherings.

"Those meetings are designed to make people consider all their electoral options.

"It is inexcusable that New Zealanders could be funding a campaign targeted at increasing the Maori roll, rather than targeting increased Maori participation in elections.

"Many of the most significant gains made by Maori have been under National Governments.

"And while National has never won the Maori seats, we have been fierce advocates for fairness, equality and speedily putting right the wrongs of the past.

"Maori now have unrivalled levels of representation in Parliament. The changing make-up of our population also means that this is never likely to change.

"The real choice facing Maori in this electoral option question is whether, fundamentally, they believe we are one nation or two," says Dr Brash.

ENDS

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