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Referendum needed on Maori Seats - Dunne

For immediate release
Friday, 30 May 2008

Referendum needed on Maori Seats - Dunne

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne has reaffirmed his call for a referendum on the future of the Maori seats in light of a report released today.

“I believe the substance of what Professor Joseph is saying in his report is correct, under a system of proportional representation there is no place for seats exclusively based on race,” said Mr Dunne.

“I also agree with his summation that the seats do not do Maori any favours, by focussing Maori politics towards the preservation and winning of the Maori seats implies a disengagement of Maori from the mainstream political process.”

“I am in no doubt that Maori competing for and enrolled to vote in Maori seats would make a much more significant contribution to our MMP system if they were involved in the general role.

“The Royal Commission on the Electoral System in 1985-6 concluded that the seats had not helped Maori and that they would achieve better representation through a proportional party-list system – which is exactly what we have now got.”

“For Te Ururoa Flavell and the Maori Party to come out and state they wish to entrench the Maori seats completely contradicts the point of MMP in New Zealand and is motivated purely out of political self-interest.”
“It is highly probable that the next election will see a parliamentary overhang of up to four seats as the Maori Party may win all seven Maori seats yet only gain 2 percent of the party vote.”

“The result will be the party with the most seats will need the confidence of 63 seats rather than 61 – making it much more difficult to form the next government.”

“The electoral system should treat all New Zealanders equally – not favour one group over another,” Mr Dunne says.


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