Election 2014

28 Oct 2008

Maori Party welcomes Labour's support for Maori seats

7:10 pm on 28 October 2008

The Labour Party is now saying it cannot see a problem with entrenching the seven Maori seats, despite saying that it would not do so two days ago.

It is a bottom line for the Maori Party in any post-election deal with either National or Labour.

On Sunday 26 October Labour leader Helen Clark said there was no point entrenching the Maori seats, as her party is committed to their existence.

But on Tuesday 28 October Miss Clark said she had no problem in agreeing to do so.

"We're very committed to the Maori electoral option, which determines how many seats there actually are. I don't have any particular difficulty with entrenching those.

The Maori Party has a bill ready for the entrenchment of the Maori seats, under which a 75% majority vote in Parliament would be needed to get rid of them.

Co-leader Tariana Turia says both National and Labour would have to agree to that if they want to work with her party after the election.

Mrs Turia says she is surprised but pleased by Miss Clark's latest comments.

"Because it's not too long ago that they were saying that they didn't see the reason to entrench the seats because they would never go unless Maori people said so, but we never ever have had the political will for the seats to be entrenched before so yes, I'm pleased that Labour have said that they will."

[audiohttp://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/events/election2008/helen_clark_talks_about_entrenching_maori_seats]Listen to Helen Clark talking to media in Motueka

Labour will do 'anything' - Key

National Party leader John Key says he has always known that Helen Clark and Labour will do whatever it takes, not because they care about the issues that matter but because they care about keeping National out of Government.

He says National will hold its negotiations with support partners after the election, and not through the media.

Clark replies

Miss Clark says the Maori Party needs to realise that the seven seats are safer under Labour than National.

She says people are deluding themselves if they think entrenchment makes the Maori seats safe from a right-wing government.

Miss Clark says National could still overturn it with a 50% majority.