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Ririnui to lodge bill to entrench Maori seats

30 April 2009 Media Statement

Ririnui to lodge bill to entrench Maori seats


Labour list MP Mita Ririnui is to lodge a Member’s Bill seeking the entrenchment of the Maori seats in Parliament.

“The Bill will go into the next ballot and will ensure that the Maori seats in Parliament will not be able to be abolished unless 75 per cent of MPs in any Parliament vote in favour of such a move.

“The only other way the seats would be able to be abolished under the Bill, would be if a majority of Maori electors voted in a referendum to support such a step, Mita Ririnui said.

“Labour signalled its support for the entrenchment of the Maori seats prior to the 2008 election and the issue has never been as important as it is now.

“National and Act have enough votes to abolish the seats under the current law and if there was a falling out with the Maori Party, there would be nothing stopping those two parties moving to abolish the Maori seats in Parliament overnight,” Mita Ririnui said.

“Given the differing stances of National in particular on this issue in recent years, and its apparent opposition to the Royal Commission’s proposal to establish
Maori seats on the new Auckland Council – which Labour supports - I believe it is prudent to ensure the parliamentary seats are given this protection.

“I will be seeking the support of all political parties and the Maori MPs in Parliament in particular,” Mita Ririnui said.

“The Maori Party signed a confidence and supply agreement with the National Party promising not to pursue entrenchment of the Maori seats in Parliament this term. This was remarkable given entrenchment of the seats was a so-called bottom line for the Maori Party before the last election.”

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“However I remain hopeful the Maori Party MPs will support Labour in its pursuit.

“One of my first responsibilities as an MP was to sponsor a successful Local Bill to enable the provision of Maori seats on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council so I’m pleased to be able to now introduce a Bill which will help secure the Maori seats in Parliament, unless Maori decide they should go,” Mita Ririnui said.

ENDS

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