“MANA and the Maori Party may not agree on everything but there’s one thing we do agree on” said MANA Leader Hone Harawira “and that’s to entrench the Maori seats”
“Take the integrity of the Maori seats off the table and respect them for what they are – the only place where Maori politicians are required to put their case to Maori people and be held accountable for it”
“It’s a tough place to operate. I know. The Tai Tokerau seat encompasses seven general seats, runs from deeply rural Maori communities to sophisticated urban centres, and includes the most independent thinkers in the Maori world. But it’s also a world worth preserving, worth listening to and worth representing”
“Winston used the Northern Maori seat to launch his political career just like Paula Bennett used government benefits to help get started in life. Seems they were both happy to take the good bits when they could, and just as happy to stop everybody else getting something out of it”
“Maori seats came into existence back in 1867. At the time, the Maori population was so high that if Maori had been given the vote they might have swamped the parliament. Conservatives countered that by giving Maori the vote in just four seats. There were no registration papers, voting took place on a different day to the general elections and less resources were dedicated to the Maori vote”
“Winston stood for one of those seats last century and he wasn’t calling for them to be abolished then. And in 1996, he was all smiles when Tau Henare and the boys delivered all the Maori seats to New Zealand First, although his smile quickly disappeared when his boys ditched him for National. So you can see why Winston doesn’t like them. He’s never won one himself and the only time his party won them, they immediately lost them all in record time”
“National’s dithering is to be expected. They’d be happy to see the Maori seats go, but they’ve got a deal going with the Maori Party and they’ll be relying on them coming through again”
“And I’m not surprised Labour’s not said anything on this. Andrew Little talks up the Maori seats, but he needs Winston on board so he’ll sit quietly by while Maori get shafted … again.