Peters appears to back off Maori seat referendum pledge

In his speech to the NZ First congress  in July Winston Peters announced a policy to have a referendum on the Maori seats.

I am therefore announcing today that the next government we belong to will offer a binding referendum mid-term to do two things:

Retain or Abolish the Maori seats.

And there will be second referendum on the same day and that will be to Maintain or Reduce the size of Parliament to 100 MPs.

Shane Jones confused the issue on RNZ: Peters, Jones differ on Māori seats

“The Māori seats will subsist for as long as people of Māori extraction remain on them or want them to continue, but it’s a kaupapa for the people to decide,” Mr Jones said.

NZ Herald: NZ First leader Winston Peters hints at re-think on Maori seats referendum

NZ First leader Winston Peters has dismissed suggestions of a revolt in his ranks over the Maori seats, but said he will reveal soon whether his proposed referendum on the future of the seats would be for all voters or for Maori.

Peters announced plans to hold a binding referendum on the future of the seats at his party’s annual conference – a shift from the 2014 position which favoured abolishing the seats but leaving it to Maori themselves to decide when.

That was assumed to be a referendum of all voters – but Peters is now hinting that may not be the case.

Asked about recent comments by both candidate Shane Jones and NZ First MP Pita Paraone about leaving the fate of the seats to Maori voters, Peters said he believed it should be up to Maori.

“Of course it should be up to Maori to decide if the seats go, but I’m making a speech about it very shortly and I will tell you the full parameters of that.

“I’ve heard what has been said by people who have interviewed Pita and maybe others, and the question is whether it is full conscription and I’ll have that answer in a speech I’m giving shortly.”

I don’t remember him giving that speech to clarify things.

Now a Labour-NZ First coalition is a possibility, and Jacinda Ardern has stated that Labour would not allow the Maori seats to be decided by a general referendum.

RNZ: No referendum on Māori seats: Ardern

Labour party leader Jacinda Ardern has repeated her pledge that the party will not agree to a referendum on the Māori seats in coalition talks with New Zealand First.

She said the future of the Māori seats is one for Māori to determine – not through a binding referendum of all voters.

This may not be a problem. NZH: Winston Peters hints a Maori seats referendum not a deal-breaker

In an interview on Wednesday night with Australian political commentator Andrew Bolt on Sky News, Peters was asked whether he had any policies in common with Labour.

“On the question of the Maori seats, it was written up as ‘Peters is opposed and is going to abolish the Maori seats’. That’s not true,” Peters said.

“I said ‘Let’s have a referendum and let the people decide’, but apparently some people don’t like democracy.

“Anyway, the Maori Party itself was one of the things behind us saying it. The Maori Party are a race-based, origin-of-race party. It got smashed in this election and is gone.

“So some of the elements to the environment in which a promise was made have since changed. That’s all I can say.”

I think we may find that elements of the environment in which many election pledges were made have flown out the Winston window once coalition negotiations begin.

It’s worth remembering that Peters is very well practiced at implying something that later turns out to be fairly flexible or fluid.


Leave a comment


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  28th September 2017

    Winston polishing his bargaining chips.

  2. Gezza

     /  28th September 2017

    Winston showing the rednecks they’re suckers.

  3. Seabird

     /  28th September 2017

    And so the back down of the “bottom lines” begins

  4. Zedd

     /  28th September 2017

    Interesting.. I think its one of the few issues, Natz & NZF DID have in common 😀

    btw; I watched ‘Back benches’ last evening (last show for this year), with M Doocey (nat), Tracey Martin (NZF) K Faafoi (Lab) & Eugenie Sage (Grns).. when they mentioned that Natz would likely talk first with NZF, Doocey put his arm around Tracey M. She got annoyed & said “DON’T TOUCH ME !” for the rest of the show they certainly kept their distance. She is also the spokesperson for Education & made it clear NZF do not support; Charter schools or National standards.. oh dear 😀

  5. sorethumb

     /  28th September 2017

    Before we try to get rid of Maori seats we need to question the subversive in academia and make them justify their funding. Or fund academics who provide balance to the neomarxist.

  1. How solid are campaign policies and pledges? | Your NZ

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