December 07, 2019
NZ First death knell for Tirikatene Bill
Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene is accusing New Zealand First and National of pandering to anti-treaty rights group Hobson’s Pledge in their opposition to his Bill seeking to entrench the Māori seats.
The Bill, which would require any changes to the seats to require the same 75 percent of votes as other constitutional changes, is considered dead after New Zealand First confirmed on Wednesday it will vote against it.
National's policy is that the seats should be scrapped, which it set to one side while it relied on the Māori Party to remain in power.
Mr Tirikatene says opponents argue the seats are about privilege and separatism, rather than acknowledging they are a unique expression of the treaty relationship that has been a taonga for the whole country for more than 150 years.
"There was always going to be resistance from the Hobson's Pledge crown and at the end of the day those major political parties didn't want to upset that section of society they rely on for votes," he says.
Mr Tirikatene says despite the Bill’s expected demise at the next member’s day the issue of Māori seats being treated differently to general seats won’t go away, and he expects similar Bills to go before future parliaments.
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