A poll out today revealing considerable grassroots support for Maori seats on the Auckland Super City shows the Government should reconsider its opposition to the seats, says Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta.
"It should also encourage the Maori Party that it has nothing to lose and much to gain by supporting my colleague Mita Ririnui's Member's Bill to entrench the Maori seats in Parliament.
"The Reid Research survey published today put four questions to Aucklanders about the SuperCity, including the issue of the Maori seats.
"The poll showed a fairly even split with 46 per cent of respondents in favour of the Maori seats and 54 per cent against," Nanaia Mahuta says.
"I'm heartened by those results and believe that with more debate on the issue, the number of Aucklanders in favour of the Maori seats will grow.
"Labour believes it is important for all New Zealanders to participate in local government and the Maori seats in Parliament have proved an effective mechanism for tangata whenua to participate.
"While I'd like to see the Government's position on the Auckland seats change, I'm not holding my breath given the stance taken by Local Government Minister Rodney Hide on the issue in recent weeks," Nanaia Mahuta says.
"Act has always opposed Maori seats and National keeps changing its mind. Between them, the two parties now have the votes to remove the Maori seats from Parliament.
"Those seats were always safe when Labour was in charge, but the situation has now changed. This is why Mita Ririnui has prepared his Member's Bill to entrench them and why Labour wants the Maori Party's support."
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