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Other Ways To Get Maori Seats - John Key

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Key
John Key

Wellington, Aug 25 NZPA - If Aucklanders want Maori seats on the new council there are other ways of getting them, Prime Minister John Key says.

Cabinet yesterday reaffirmed the decision it made in April not to have reserved seats, going against strong representations from the Maori Party and other Maori organisations.

Mr Key said there were provisions for Maori representation under local government legislation.

Maori seats could be created through a referendum, or if a council decided to do so.

"There's nothing stopping somebody campaigning in Auckland saying that if they become the mayor and have a majority on the council they'll implement Maori seats because they believe that's the will of the people," Mr Key told Radio New Zealand.

"Why would we only do that (Maori seats) for Auckland and not do that around the rest of the country?"

Cabinet did not believe having Maori seats across the country was the best way to go, he said.

"I do not accept the view that some sort of advisory board or some sort of participation board would be a sop."

He preferred an advisory committee or board, which could be a statutory body with "quite wide-ranging powers".

He said Local Government Minister Rodney Hide's vow to resign if there were Maori seats was not a dominant factor in Cabinet's decision.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples said an advisory committee was "a very, very poor and quite worthless and toothless substitute" for representation.

But he welcomed council creation of Maori seats, saying it would be "a good way to do it".

The Maori Party was calling for a conscience vote in Parliament so each MP could make up their own mind on the seats.

"I have a feeling that many in the National camp do support the seats."

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