"Māori don't need the Māori seats" - Peters

updated By Heeni Brown
  • Auckland

Northland MP and NZ First leader in his speech at this year's annual conference to his party's members says "Māori don't need the Māori seats".

NZ First's Winston Peters says, "Today, a majority of those entitled to be on the Māori roll are not, they're on the general roll...Māori don't need the Māori seats, they don't need any more tokenism."

According to the Electoral Commission results for 2013: 55% or 228,718 Māori were on the Māori roll and 45% or 184,630 Māori were on the General roll.

At the 24th annual conference held at Manukau Vodafone Events Centre, Māori who attended the conference also responded to Peters' suggestion that "Māori don't need the Māori seats". 

Shane Te Pou who attended the conference says, "I believe that as long as Māori want the seats we should have them, but there's been a huge shift of the Māori to the general seats and I think there is a real challenge to a mainstream party to have more Māori at winning more general seats and on the list. So, I think that whakaaro is starting to get traction."

NZ Māori Warden Lynn Paraone says, "It's ok I have no worries because there are so many Māori who aren't Māori. Most of them are now urban and live in our cities."

NZ First member Jeff Tukua says, "Those are his own thoughts, but I still believe Maanu's (Paul) suggestion that we need as many Māori as we can in Parliament."

Peters also said the needs of Māori were equal to all New Zealand citizens.
 
He says, "We see that the four things Māori want are safe affordable homes and an easily accessible affordable health system, an education system which escalators onto which any child can step on to and go as far as they wish, and the fourth is first world jobs and incomes." 

"That's what Māori want and come to think of it, those are the things that everybody regardless of background wants."

There are nine weeks left until Election Day, September 23rd and for Peters who has been in politics for more than 40 years is as confident as ever.

"We are going to transform the electoral outcome and we will be most definitely the Government."