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ACT Will Abolish Separate Maori Seats

ACT Leader Richard Prebble confirmed today it is ACT policy that separate Maori representation in Parliament will be abolished.

Mr Prebble said he was disappointed that ACT's potential coalition partner National had, at its annual conference, rejected a recommendation from its own Constitutional Review that separate Maori seats be abolished.

"I think it is extraordinary that the conference is not even willing to allow the matter to go to a referendum," Mr Prebble said.

"The New Zealand public has never been given an opportunity to vote on this issue, even though we know polls show a majority of both Maori and non-Maori believe separate Maori representation should go.

"The Royal Commission on Electoral Reform gave as one of its reasons for recommending MMP that this system of voting would enable parliament to abolish racially-based constituencies.

"Separate racial constituencies have been a failure for both Maori and non-Maori.

"The system is divisive. We cannot be opposed to apartheid overseas and then support it at home.

"ACT is firmly in favour of one law for all. ACT will not accept today's National Party conference decision. Our voting system is a matter that should be determined by the people by referendum, and should not be imposed upon us.

"ACT will look for a strong mandate to insist the next Government takes a firm stand on this matter," Richard Prebble said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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