National and the Māori Party need to support my member’s Bill which is designed to entrench the Māori electorate seats in Parliament, Labour’s Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene says.
“Under the Electoral Act the provisions establishing the general electorates are entrenched – meaning only a 75 per cent majority can overturn them – but the provisions establishing the Māori electorates are not - meaning it only takes a simple majority to abolish them.
“My Bill is about fixing the constitution. There’s no reason to treat general electorate seats better than we treat Māori electorate seats.
“The Bill will entrench the two sections establishing the Māori electorates so there will be equal status for general electorate seats and Māori electorate seats.
“Section 3 of the Electoral Act, the provision defining the Māori electoral population, and section 45, the provision instructing the Electoral Commission to divide the country into Māori electorates, will be entrenched.
“The Bill won’t entrench sections 76 to 79, administrative clauses dealing with the Māori option.
“I’m proud to submit this Bill as my family has had the privilege of serving Te Tai Tonga for three generations. My party has had the privilege of serving in the Māori electorate seats for almost 90 years.
“Let’s fulfil the promise of the Treaty of Waitangi and treat Māori voters the same way we treat other voters,” says Rino Tirikatene.