Debate continues as to whether Māori seats are necessary

By Ripeka Timutimu

According to one Māori MP, the Māori seats have become irrelevant in the House of Representatives.

The elections have seen the return of Ron Mark of New Zealand First into the House, and the revival of a touchy issue on the importance of the Māori seats.

The newbies, with a few old faces thrown in the mix, are already causing a stir.

MP Ron Mark says, “I think the Māori seats have become irrelevant, whether or not they are is a question for their electorate.”

There are 26 MPs who have Māori ancestry in the House.  19 of those will be coming in either off the candidate lists or off electorate seats.

Mark says, “New Zealand First has always been clear, we always believe the Māori seats are not required.  But that decision should be made by Māori.”

Peeni Henare, MP for Tāmaki Makaurau says, despite some having Māori ancestry, they don't necessarily have Māori issues at their core, like himself.

He says, “Even though a lot of people say there are a lot of Māori in Parliament, I support what Willie Jackson said, that even though they are of Māori descent, their values are not always that of Māori.”  

According to MP Shane Reti, “I’ve always thought myself that one can identify oneself as Māori but it's whether the people identify you as Māori.”

The Māori seats will remain for the time being and only time will tell whether or not they'll be removed from this House.