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Hide Will Resign If Maori Seats Make It To New Council Table

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Rodney Hide
Rodney Hide

Wellington, Aug 20 NZPA - ACT leader Rodney Hide has vowed to resign as Local Government Minister if Maori seats are allowed on the Auckland super city council.

The Royal Commission which reported on Auckland's local government structure recommended reserved Maori seats but the Government scrapped that when it set out its plans for the city.

The Maori Party has been lobbying to overturn the Government's decision and both sides have been looking for a compromise.

Mr Hide told Radio New Zealand that ACT maintained its position of opposing separate Maori seats and he could not remain Local Government Minister if they were allowed.

Mr Hide's office said he would remain Regulatory Reform Minister and Associate Minister of Commerce, if he resigned as local government minister.

ACT would continue to support the Government because it has signed a confidence and supply agreement with National, Mr Hide said.

The Government and ACT are denying that a crisis has developed over whether there should be reserved Maori seats on the new council.

It was revealed last night that a senior National MP sent an email to his caucus colleagues telling them ACT had threatened to end its relationship with the Government if it "gave in to Maori" and agreed to having special Maori seats on the council.

Mr Hide said that was wrong.

"We've certainly never threatened to end the relationship," he said.

"What we have done is state our position very clearly and we are opposed to any reservation of seats for a particular group."

A spokesman for Prime Minister John Key said ACT's views were well known.

"We are working through arrangements for the super city. We have all sorts of discussions with support parties, we're not about to start conducting those in the media," the spokesman said.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said Mr Hide was politicking with his promise to stand down and a final decision on the seats should be based on what was best for Auckland.

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