Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Dunne: Maori seats distort democracy

Media statement
For immediate release
Friday, 17 October 2008

Dunne: Maori seats distort democracy

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne says National’s bumbling efforts over the Maori seats issue and the equally strident responses by the Maori and Green parties demanding the entrenchment of Maori seats highlights just how badly those parties and media commentators are missing the point on this issue.

“The continued existence of the Maori seats has long since gone past the bumper sticker slogans of race-based representation by opponents to the seats, or preserving the special place of Maori in the electoral system by supporters of the seats.

“It is now an issue about totally distorting MMP and potentially perverting the will of the voters.

"If current polling is to be believed, the Maori party is on track to win six if not all seven Maori constituency seats.

"Yet they are only polling between 2 to 3 percent of the party vote, which would entitle them to 2 or at best 3 seats. If this plays out at the ballot box, Parliament would have to grow by either 4 or 5 seats from 120 to 125 seats.

"This overhang would result in either of the major parties having to cobble together a total of 63 rather than 61 seats to form a majority to govern.

"If current polling is to be believed further, National is supported by over 50% of voters. If that also plays out at the ballot box and they gain 51% of the popular vote, they will win either 61 or 62 seats.

"But with the potential overhang caused by the Maori seats, National would not be able to form a government.

“Such a situation would be totally undemocratic and unacceptable. The fundamental tenet of representative democracy would be totally perverted. Put simply, the will of the majority would be thwarted,” said Mr Dunne.

“The Maori party is demanding that the Maori seats should be entrenched and only go when Maori decide.

"In this election, they can put their money where their mouth is. The existence of separate Maori seats becomes irrelevant in electoral terms if the Maori party attracts enough party vote support that would entitle them to the 6 or 7 electorate seats they might win.

"In other words if they attract 5.5% party vote, they are entitled to 7 seats under the MMP system, regardless of whether they win electorate seats.

“I challenge Dr Sharples and Mrs Turia and their Green cheer leaders to explain how the continued existence of Maori seats can justify the corruption of our democratic process in the very real situation outlined above.

“When it comes to democratic representation, Maori are no more or less important that Asian, Pacific or European voices,” said Mr Dunne.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice.

Evidently, the National government is similarly desperate for anything that might discredit or derail the Ardern juggernaut, even if that means throwing Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne under a bus More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>


Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>


Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>


(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>






Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election