5 Aug 2017

Labour rules out Māori seat referendum

7:21 pm on 5 August 2017

The Labour Party is ruling out a referendum on the Māori seats, even if that's a bottom line for a deal with New Zealand First.

Kelvin Davis and Winston Peters

Kelvin Davis, left, and Winston Peters Photo: RNZ

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has promised a referendum to let voters decide if the seven Māori electorates should remain.

He says Māori don't need the seats and don't need tokenism.

Labour said it will be up to Māori alone to say if the seats are no longer necessary.

The party's new deputy leader, Kelvin Davis, told TV3's The Nation there was no push from within Māoridom to abolish the seats.

"Those seats were foisted upon Māori back in the 1860s just to really control our voting power and we have become quite fond of them to be honest.

"We really don't want them to go."

Mr Davis said Māori would have a bar of Mr Peters wanting them to give them up for nothing.

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