16 Sep 2014

Peters says NZ First ethnic, gender blind

6:05 am on 16 September 2014

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has responded to an accusation by the Maori Party warning it could get rid of Maori seats if tangata whenua do not vote carefully.

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Winston Peters. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell has told Te Manu Korihi it is more than likely National could return to power according to latest polls - and if it teams up with the Conservative and New Zealand First parties that could be devastating for tangata whenua.

Mr Peters said the majority of Maori are already on the general roll.

The New Zealand First leader was asked by reporters yesterday whether he would retain Maori seats. He replied by saying that the Royal Commission into electoral reforms said that, in time, the interest of Maori can be represented by a single franchise.

Mr Peters said his party tries to promote balance by being ethnic and gender blind in its choice of candidates.

However, he said more tangata whenua have entered the house under MMP rather than the First Past the Post system.

Under FPP, Mr Peters said he was only one of four Maori to get in to Parliament in 100 years.

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