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English on the Māori seats

Written By: - Date published: 9:17 am, February 23rd, 2017 - 13 comments
Categories: bill english, Maori Issues, Maori seats - Tags: , , ,

With Māori politics very much in the news lately, Vernon Small seems amused by Bill English’s posturing – English punts talk of electoral deals, Maori seat strategy, into the stands

Well then, what about abolishing the Maori seats?

Hmm. If it was “on the books” it was not a policy National was pursuing, and he would need to check.

Unfortunately for English, Small has a long political memory –

That press release in full –

National Party Caucus votes to end Maori seats
Tuesday, 6 May 2003, 1:49 pm
Press Release: New Zealand National Party

National Party Caucus votes to end Maori seats

The National Party is formally adopting a policy promoted by Leader Bill English, which would bring an end to the Maori seats in Parliament.

The National Party Caucus voted to back the position at its meeting today.

“Modern Maori are highly skilled operators in our current political system, their voices are heard at every level and the Maori seats have outlived their usefulness,” Mr English says.

“In 1867 the Maori Representation Act created what were described as four ‘temporary’ seats.

“Then in 1986, the Royal Commission on the electoral system said that under MMP there would be no need for separate Maori seats.

“It pointed out separate seats encouraged Maori MPs to look after only Maori interests and provided limited incentive for MPs in general seats to respond to Maori concerns,” says Mr English.

“Under MMP, Maori representation no longer depends on Maori seats.

“At the 2001 census, 14% of the population identified themselves as Maori, right now Maori have 18 MPs, or 15% of all MPs,” he says.

“More Maori than ever are in Parliament and while the Maori seats fulfilled a purpose, their time is now over

“This is part of a wider citizenship policy I plan to release later this year.

“It will reflect my view that Maori have the capacity to participate the same as any other citizen,” Mr English says.

Someone should ask English whether he still believes the opinions stated in the press release, and if not, why not?

13 comments on “English on the Māori seats ”

  1. Infused 1

    2003…

    yeah, ok.

    • AB 1.1

      Leopards – spots

      • BM 1.1.1

        You don’t think working with the Maori party over the last nine years may have helped change that opinion?

        • AB 1.1.1.1

          Oh Im sure Bill is very pragmatic about such things. If he can wedge some Maori seats away from Labour to give National some extra safety margin, he obviously will.
          But what he actually believes is an entirely different thing, and odds on it’s more in line with his 2003 statement

  2. michelle 2

    Billy has amnesia same as his mate john both have no recall when it suits and this is the very reason the Maori party should not side with the tories

    • tc 2.1

      You assume the maori party isnt aligned to nationals values when their voting pattern suggests they are.

      aside from the odd PR tantrum from Fox they have supported the gutting of nz social fabric by the hollowman.

  3. tc 3

    Another journalism fail, a half decent one would skewer him for that response given his prior statements.

    He gets to waffle on rather than deal with the reality of their flexible positioning and folk dont get to see how he does what shonky was excellent at……spinning/diverting/bs

    • Wayne 3.1

      tc,

      The public are smarter than you give them credit for. They know that policy is no longer relevant, (along with various other policies from 15 to 20 years ago).

      The actions of the last 8 years clearly show that in relation to the Maori seats.

      Pointing out that Bill English once had such a policy would be just a big yawn for most/all voters. It will not influence a single voters choice in 2017.

      • Ahaha, sure, it’s a big yawn, just like whenever they pull out this sort of stuff at Labour leaders about letters they wrote for Mr. Liu or whatever.

        It’s reasonable to see if he has an answer for why he thought it was okay to hold a position like that back then if it’s not okay now, and let the public judge whether that explanation is enough for them before concluded it can’t be news. Because they insist it is news whenever it’s a labour leader that does it.

  4. swordfish 4

    Amongst Winnie’s implicit set of draft bottom lines for joining a coalition:

    “Stopping separatism” / “separatist racist laws”

    and

    Ensuring: “the future of the Maori seats is a decision for the people to make having examined the significant increase in numbers of Maori MPs under MMP.” (ie Winnie’s quite keen on abolishing the Maori seats)

    http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/maori_affairs

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/winston-peters-separatism-and-mass-immigration-bottom-lines-nz-first

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/06/29/winstons-bottom-lines-what-do-they-mean-for-2017/

  5. Nick 5

    Blinglish will say and do whatever to stay in power….the Maori seats are only useful to the Natz as long as they are useful to the purpose of staying in power…. why would anyone think different ? in 2003 he thought they werent useful, so suggests abolishment….2017….useful.

    • Muttonbird 5.1

      Indeed. It betrays that English and the current government care more about holding onto power (or more accurately, keeping Labour from power) than they do about the interests of Maori.

  6. DS 6

    National would never actually get rid of the Maori seats – it’s a policy that’s useful to have around as a dog-whistle to certain Pakeha, but if they ever implemented it, they’d have to find some other wedge issue to take its place. Also, the Maori seats operate as a convenient pro-National gerrymander (less of an issue under MMP, but still very real, especially in the upper North Island).

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