Māori Party Defends the Integrity of the Māori seats
19 August 2014
Not on Our Watch: Māori Party Defends the Integrity of the Māori seats
Māori Party Co-leaders, Tariana Turia and Te Ururoa Flavell have spoken out today about the importance of saving the Māori seats.
“We have had enough of the attacks being launched on the Māori seats and we are asking New Zealanders to think hard about the messages being portrayed. During this election we are fighting even harder to protect the integrity of the Māori seats. On one side there are parties wanting to get rid of the Māori seats; on the other there is the Internet Mana Party threatening the ongoing viability of the seats. We should not allow the Māori seats to be used for political expediency,” says Mrs Turia.
“The Internet Mana alliance is a marriage of convenience which according to their Party constitution can dissolve six weeks after the General Election. Our tūpuna fought to preserve those seats to ensure we have Māori representation in Parliament,” says Te Ururoa Flavell.
Many Māori see the Māori seats in Parliament as the only guarantee of Māori representation. The Electoral Act 1993, and its predecessor, the Māori Representation Act 1867, have always provided for a separate Māori polity in the form of a Māori electoral roll.
“As a political movement, the Māori Party has always taken up the call from tangata whenua to ensure we save these seats in order to protect their voice. In being elected to those seats the Māori Party has always been conscious of the legacy associated with those before us: Sir Apirana Ngata, Iriaka Ratana, Matiu Rata, Maui Pomare and a long line of leaders dedicated towards upholding Māori aspirations,” says Mrs Turia.
Te Ururoa Flavell says the Māori Party has fought too hard over these last ten years to get into a negotiating position with any government to now watch the power of the Māori electoral seats being eroded by a new party with agendas other than Māori priorities.
“Actually, it is for Māori to decide what should happen to the seats as opposed to others deciding for us. We call on all Māori to stand together, to fight for our right to representation, and to ensure our mokopuna will always have a party and electorate seats in their name,” says Mr Flavell.