Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Maori Party Seeks Entrenched Maori Seats, Complicates Post - General Election Deal with National

The Maori Party has released its Treaty of Waitangi policy which includes a policy to entrench in law the Maori seats in parliament. This would mean a 75 per cent majority vote in parliament would be required to repeal the seats. The current law permits a repeal by simple majority.

The party is also opposed to any repeal without Maori consent through either a referendum or constitutional review.

Co-leader Tariana Turia has made it clear that support for a member's bill entrenching the seats would be a requirement of any agreement with a major party seeking support from the Maori Party in any post-election arrangement to form a government or seek supply & support.

This requirement makes even more difficult any post-election agreement between National, expected to gain the most seats in the new parliament though short of a working majority, and the Maori Party. National has declared its intent to abolish the Maori Seats by 2014; however, National leader John Key has said his party's Maori seat policy is not a bottom line.

The Maori Party's policy would seek to extend Maori representation to different levels of government. At the local level, separate Maori representation would occur on local government councils. At the national level, Maori representation would be created on the boards of state-owned enterprises, crown companies, crown entities, crown research institutes and district health boards.

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