NZ First vote for bill to entrench Maori seats

The Herald reports:

A bill entrenching the Māori seats into New Zealand electoral law – requiring a 75 per cent majority of Parliament to get rid of them – has passed its first reading in Parliament because it was supported by New Zealand First, which opposes the Māori seats.

Not just opposes them. Winston said it was a bottom line to get rid of them. Nick Smith points out:

“The NZ First policy to abolish the Māori seats was announced as a bottom line of the party by Winston Peters who described them as ‘separatism’, that they ‘had had their day’ and ‘had to go’.

“Mr Peters stated in April ‘That entrenching the Māori seats was not part and parcel of any coalition agreement’ and Shane Jones ruled out voting for it saying ‘I don’t know anyone in our caucus who is going to vote for the entrenchment.’

Yet now the entire caucus has voted for a bill to entrench them.

They claim it is so an amendment can be made later on, seeking a referendum on the seats. But that was not their policy. Their policy was clear cut – they had to go.

Luckily the bill is doomed anyway as to entrench the seats with a 75% threshold means there has to be a 75% majority in Parliament for the bill at the committee of the whole stage. National is opposed, and hence the bill will eventually fail.

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