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Fitzsimons Challenges Shirley On Maori Seats

22 June 1999

Fitzsimons Challenges Shirley On Maori Seats Solution

The Green Party today challenged ACTs Ken Shirley to drop a bill designed to prevent separate Maori seats on Environment Bay of Plenty. Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said that instead, Shirley should support a Green Party bill to introduce an STV electoral system for local bodies.

ACT Deputy Leader Ken Shirley has drafted a bill, which precludes separate rolls based on race for local body elections, in response to a bill from Te Tai Rawhiti MP John Delamere which would allow separate Maori representation on local bodies.

Jeanette Fitzsimons said she agrees with both Mr Shirley and Delamere that improved Maori representation on local Councils is desirable, but a much fairer way of achieving this, without disadvantaging other voters, is through introducing the proportional STV system.

"By putting a bill in the ballot Ken Shirley is reducing the chance of our STV bill being debated in Parliament," she said. "Ken's bill tries to stop better Maori representation whereas our bill improves it without creating separatism."

"Local bodies are still running under a First Past the Post system which we all know is neither fair or proportional," said Ms Fitzsimons. "Green Co-leader Rod Donald has had a bill in the ballot for three months now which would give councils the choice of adopting a proportional Single Transferable Vote electoral system."

"The answer simply lies in a proportional electoral system which would fairly represent the 19 per cent of Maori in the Bay of Plenty. Our bill is the commonsense solution to this problem which should satisfy everyone," she said.

The Single Transferable Vote System ensures all significant opinions are represented proportionally on Councils by allowing voters to rank candidates in order of preference in multi member seats.

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