National Party leader Judith Collins and party president Peter Goodfellow revealed the change at National’s caucus retreat in Wellington today.
“National has been absent from the Māori electorate contest for too long,” Collins said.
The party last contested the Māori seats in 2002. In 2008, the party campaigned on abolishing the Māori seats.
“We are a party for all New Zealanders. Everything we do, we do with the aim of making New Zealand a better, more prosperous country for everyone," Collins said.
National leader Judith Collins says the party has been absent from Māori seats too long. Photo/Getty Images
“At the core of this is giving every New Zealander a voice in Parliament – making sure their interests and aspirations are at the heart of every political decision we make."
“With this in mind, the National Party believes we should be doing everything possible to represent every New Zealander and will work toward having candidates in as many of the Māori seats as possible.”
National has always been ambitious for Māori and is proud of its record of delivering for Māori, Collins says.
The last National government worked hard to raise the proportion of Māori school leavers with NCEA level 2 or above from 52% to 75%, increase the number of Māori with bachelor's degrees by 61% and get 42,000 more Māori into jobs.
“We want Māori do well because when Māori do well, the whole country does well. I believe the National Party will be a strong voice for Māori in government,” Collins says.