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Referendum needed on Maori seats for 2014

Media statement
For immediate release
Monday, 29 September 2008

Referendum needed on Maori seats for 2014

The Maori seats should be subject to a public referendum at the same time the MMP electoral system is voted upon, says UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne.

“Helen Clark is saying that she has ‘a huge problem with a Pakeha majority in a New Zealand Parliament legislating away the Maori seats’. I reject this notion,” says Mr Dunne.

“A referendum on Maori seats would see the whole country decide on whether we want a race-based voting system, or a universal voting system where every New Zealander’s vote is equal.

“Who is Labour to tell us that the country as a whole has no right to decide how our electoral system should operate. If not the people of New Zealand, by way of a referendum, then who should decide – Helen Clarke and Pita Sharples?”

Mr Dunne says that the Royal Commission in 1986 recommended that race-based seats should go when MMP was introduced – but this never happened.

“Under a system of proportional representation there is no place for seats exclusively based on race,” said Mr Dunne.
“The seats do not do Maori any favours. Focussing Maori politics towards the preservation and winning of the Maori seats implies a disengagement of Maori from the mainstream political process.
“The electoral system should treat all New Zealanders equally – not favour one group over another,” Mr Dunne says.


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