National "hasn’t done well enough” previously for Māori vote - Bridges

By Talisa Kupenga

National leader Simon Bridges admits his party has not done enough for the Māori vote in the past but says it's worth chasing. His remarks come at the beginning of National's AGM weekend but when asked, he wasn't sure where Māori interests feature on the agenda.

Simon Bridges is sure what direction he wants to lead National.

He says "when we are back in government in 2020 we will reinstate through legislation partnership schools and we'll do it within one year of returning to office."

But when asked what feedback he’d had from Māori constituents and what they could expect from today’s AGM Bridges says "I'm not sure what's on the agenda of the AGM."

Despite this Bridges says many Māori showed up to his public meetings keen to know what National is all about.

"I think the truth is that was to some extent because of some disappointment that the Māori Party hadn't made it there and they were wanting to see what next for those who believe strongly in Māoridom but don't see themselves hitching to the Labour Party waka. So I think there is an interesting discussion there that Kahurangi Blue are interested in and are motivated to think about."

National's Kahurangi Blue group focuses on Maori policy issues and sector engagement. Although Bridges says National hasn't done enough to engage Māori vote he stopped short of a commitment to contest the Māori seats.

"Look we're always talking calibrating, I don't think that is something that is active or something that we are actively considering at the moment." 

The conference ends tomorrow.