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Call for resolution of Maori seat 'distortion'

Media statement
For immediate release
Monday, 6 October 2008

Dunne calls for resolution of Maori seats 'distortion'

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne today reiterated that if New Zealanders want the MMP system of government to work properly, then the issue of the dedicated Maori seats in Parliament needed to be resolved once and for all.

"UnitedFuture wants to see a binding referendum in 2010 on whether the seats should be retained or not, and the resulting decision implemented at the 2014 election," he said.

"If the Maori Party wins all seven Maori electorates next month – but their party vote only entitles them to 3 seats – then that means 124 seats in Parliament and the major party would need to win 63 seats to lead the Government.

"That distortionary effect would frustrate the will of the voters and damage the public acceptance of MMP.

"In a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society like New Zealand, it's not acceptable that one group should be able to distort the results of the election in that way.

"We have rapidly-growing Korean, Chinese, Indian and Pacific communities – do we really want to see Parliament dominated by racially-based seats?

"Maori have already demonstrated they can gain Parliamentary representation equal to or better than their proportion of the country's population.

"We think a referendum would give all New Zealanders a chance to express a view on whether the seats specially reserved for Maori are still needed," said Mr Dunne.


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