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Overhang will become landslide – Maori Party

Overhang will become landslide – Maori Party

Dr Pita R Sharples, Co-leader EMBARGOED TO 5.00am 22 October 2008

Some minor party leaders seem to fear that an overhang of seats in Parliament will overshadow their own influence in post-election negotiations, says the Maori Party.

“Peter Dunne’s recent complaint that the Maori Party is subverting the will of the people is utter nonsense,” said Maori Party Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples.

“The Maori Party has won our seats in fairly-fought electorate contests. The selection of our MPsis the will of the people,” he said.

“Peter Dunne should ask himself, where are the overhang seats, and who is sitting in them? If he is so convinced the Maori Party is responsible for creating an extra seat, in all fairness he should ensure we get to use it.

“In fact, the overhang was created especially to maintain the proportionality of Parliament. Overhang seats are given to list MPs. Parties who benefit from the overhang are those whose MPs enter the Parliament via the party list, without facing the electorate at all. This includes the United Future Party but not the Maori Party.

“The simple way to eliminate the overhang is to cut the number of list seats in Parliament (as happens already when additional electorates are created).

“Whatever the size of the Parliament, one simple fact remains unchanged – a government needs to command a majority. Whether that means 61 seats out of 120, or 63 out of 125, a party or coalition that cannot maintain a majority is not able to govern,” said Dr Sharples.

“We have heard commentators scaremongering about the Maori Party creating an overhang of five seats at this election. Well, we’ll see. What those people may not have noticed is a rise in the Maori Party’s share of the party vote. As the campaign progresses, more and more non-Maori realise they can support a party with integrity.

“If anyone thinks the overhang gives us too much influence, wait till a landslide in the Maori electorates spills over into the list seats!” he said.


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