Joint Submission - Electoral (Entrenchment of Maori Seats) Amendment Bill

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We, the undersigned support Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene's private members’ Electoral (Entrenchment of Maori Seats) Amendment Bill, which is currently before the Maori Affairs Select Committee in Parliament.

This bill affects the mana of Maori seats and the mana of Maori people. The bill entrenches the Maori seats - that means no changes can be made to them unless 75 per cent of all the members of Parliament agree.

Our support of this bill is based on equity and fairness. Aotearoa New Zealand is a 50-50 partnership between Maori and the Crown, representing the public of New Zealand.

The Maori seats recognise this. It is important that Maori electorate seats be treated the same way as General electorate seats. That they are not now is is an inequity to be corrected.

The Maori electorate seats are an important vehicle for Maori views and perspective to be heard in the House of Representatives. This is important for all New Zealanders, as all the voices of our people should be heard - but it is most important for a Treaty partner’s voice to be clearly heard.

Maori seats provide a way for Maori to develop their talents and provides a career path for leaders to display their skills in ways that might not have been possible in any other way, as shown by Sir Apirana Ngata, Sir Eruera Tirikatane, Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan, and Sir James Carroll.

Maori seats are as important to representation as the South Island seats are, and they should be treated the same way - with it taking 75 per cent of all members of Parliament to change the rules about them.


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