Monday October 23, 2017   Last updated 04:30AM

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The madness of deciding the fate of Maori electorates with a binding referendum

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The madness of deciding the fate of Maori electorates with a binding referendum

NZ First's extraordinary claim that deciding the fate of the Maori electorates with a binding referendum is not only dog whistle politics at its worst, it's also incredibly unfair and utterly unjust.

Let's just consider what NZ First are suggesting by making this a binding referendum issue.

The plan is to hold a referendum 18 months into the next term of Government where a simple 1% majority would be needed to throw out all Maori electorates. Put aside the enormity of such a decision and think about what NZ First are actually advocating for here.

85% of the electorate will dictate to the indigenous 15% their electoral rights. That sort of thing is what gets you dragged in front of the UN.

How is democracy being served if it's simply the tyranny of the majority against the minority?

Winston was given the opportunity to back down and simply allow Maori to decide the referendum, but he threw a tantrum and rejected that compromise and instead reinforced that it would be decided by all NZers.

It seems Winston's pandering to the angry white National Party provincial voter is more important to NZ First than sparking a civil war.

Does anyone amongst us honestly believe that Maori would just roll over and allow their electorates to be stolen from them?

Like hell they would.

Look at the party vote stats for NZ First in the Maori electorates for the 2014 election to appreciate the huge number of Maori voters NZ First just alienated.

Hauraki-Waikato - 13%

Ikaroa-Rawhiti - 11%

Tamaki Makaurau - 13%

Te Tai Hauauru - 11%

Te Tai Tokerau - 14%

Te Tai Tonga - 12%

Waiariki - 12%

What I think will happen here is that this policy will pick up that angry white voter from National but it will cost NZ First its huge support from Maori voters. 55% of the Maori electorate are enrolled on the Maori roll and 45% on the general roll. By attacking the Maori electorates, NZ First have given every Maori voter on the Maori electorates who currently vote for them a reason to return home to Labour.

In one move Winston just managed to alienate 19, 366 Maori voters who voted for NZ First in the very electorates NZ First want to steal from them via a binding referendum that will play to the racism of the majority.

That's a pretty significant blunder just to pander to rednecks.


Martyn Bradbury

Editor -


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