Proposal to favour Maori in cannabis reform is 'crazy talk' - Māori council executive director

The request for cannabis legislation to favour Māori is "crazy talk" according to Māori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki. 

Public health organisation Hāpai Te Hauora asked the Crown to favour Māori with cannabis production if New Zealand votes yes in the referendum.

It said in a statement on Wednesday that cannabis legislation must be designed "with and by Maori".

Tukaki says the proposal is ridiculous.

"This is an organisation which receives a huge amount of money from the Government and I think they should be focused on health promotion and prevention of things like pot smoking, tobacco and vaping," he told The AM Show on Thursday.

"This is not a debate they should be getting involved in."

Tukaki says the proposal "devalues" the work being done around childcare and suicide.

He advised Hapai Te Hauora to "stay in their lane" and stick to being a health organisation.

He says he's not against debate however.

"Don't get me wrong I'm in favour of New Zealanders having a discussion and making a decision around cannabis reform," he said

"But this is a conversation for everybody."