Māori Party Co-leaders, Tariana Turia and Te Ururoa Flavell have spoken out in support of the Maori seats in New Zealand’s parliament.
A number of political parties at this years election have been saying that if they were in power they would get rid of the Maori seats.
Mrs Turia said that “during this election we are fighting even harder to protect the integrity of the Māori seats”.
Many Māori see the Māori seats in Parliament as the only guarantee of Māori representation.
The number of Maori seats can change according the number of people living in the areas. Currently there are 7 seats.
- Hauraki-Waikato – (North Western North Island, includes Hamilton and Papakura)
- Ikaroa-Rāwhiti – (East and South North Island, includes Gisborne and Masterton)
- Tāmaki Makaurau – (Roughly equivalent to greater Auckland)
- Te Tai Hauāuru – (Western North Island, includes Taranaki and Manawatu-Wanganui regions)
- Te Tai Tokerau – (Northernmost seat, includes Whangarei and North and West Auckland)
- Te Tai Tonga – (All of South Island and nearby islands. Largest electorate by area)
- Waiariki – (Includes Tauranga, Whakatane, Rotorua, Taupo)
People of Maori decent are able to go onto the Maori electoral role and vote for these 7 seats.
The establishment of Māori electorates came about in 1867 during the term of the 4th Parliament with the Māori Representation Act.