Christopher Luxon says National will stand candidates in Maori Electorate seats

  • 05/03/2022

The National Party will stand candidates in Maori seats in the election next year for the first time in nearly two decades. 

National Party leader Christopher Luxon confirmed the decision on  Newshub Nation on Saturday saying it was something the party was working through. 

Former National Party leader Judith Collins said last year they would contest seats but wouldn't say how many. 

National last contested them in 2002 but it hasn't been a successful area for the party to pick up seats. 

New Zealand’s electoral system allows voters of Māori descent have the option of enrolling on a special Māori roll. 

Their seat votes then go towards the seven Māori electorates instead of the general electorates.

Luxon's commitment to standing candidates in Maori seats is an almost total reversal of the party's previous view. 

In 2008 National said its plan was to eventually get rid of the Maori seats.

The party's Maori Affairs and Treaty Negotiations policy also confirmed then it wanted to settle all historic treaty claims by 2014.

National said in 2008 after the claims had been settled, it would begin a constitutional process to abolish the Maori seats.

Pita Sharples, co-leader of the Maori Party at the time and which held four of the seven Maori seats, said National "will face a big fight on this."

Luxon is hoping National will be more successful this time around saying they are the Party for Maori. 

"Maori have done incredibly well under National, if you think about the Treaty settlements, the Maori economy that unleashed and is booming and even the outcomes we got with Maori education," he told Newshub Nation. 

"I have been quite clear in my Treaty of Waitangi remarks and iwi leader forums Maori can do well under National and I need to be clear about that and make my case about it. I appreciate we have a lot of work to do but we should get on and get going with that." 

Luxon said the party's stance on the He Puapua plan hadn't changed despite his predecessor Collins calling it a separatist plan. 

He said in his mind New Zealand was a country built on strong bicultural traditions and we are proud of that. 

"But we are also a modern multi-cultural country going forward in the world. It is important we can represent all that in New Zealand," he told Newshub Nation.

"I have read the He Puapua report and my view is it is a set of ideas and they are not ideas we support when you follow it through to its logical conclusion, to have two separate states. 

"We support a lot of devolution and localism, that is what  the National Party is about, we trust and empower people. Those closest to the problems should solve them but we are one country."  

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