National Party leader Christopher Luxon says Māori seats don’t ‘make a lot of sense’ & More Trending News

 

Christopher Luxon speaks to the media after visiting the Papakura Budgeting Service. Video / NZ Herald

By RNZ

Fresh off utilizing his platform at this week’s Rātana celebrations to criticise the Government’s strategy to co-governance with Māori, National Party leader Christopher Luxon is taking intention at Parliament’s Māori seats.

But regardless of saying their existence “doesn’t make a lot of sense”, National will nonetheless be standing candidates in “at least one or two of them”.

At Rātana on Tuesday, Luxon – who started his speech in te reo Māori, making use of classes he began in 2022 – accused the Government of permitting a “divisive and immature” debate to develop round its plans for co-governance in areas like water administration and the supply of well being providers.

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The Government’s view has been that it’s fulfilling obligations to Māori underneath the Treaty, and hoping to enhance outcomes. Incoming Prime Minister Chris Hipkins on Tuesday pointed to varied Treaty offers struck by earlier National-led governments as containing examples of co-governance, asking which Luxon would “go back on” if elected in October.

Speaking to RNZ’s Morning Report on Wednesday, Luxon accused Labour of altering the that means of the phrase.

“You can’t just take a word ‘co-governance’ and now all of a sudden, by not being transparent as a Government as Labour has been, and start to morph it into meaning something else.”

He mentioned National MPs who struck historic Treaty offers “made the case, they took people with them and it led to generosity of spirit on both sides and actually something we should be incredibly proud about in New Zealand”.

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“Co-governance or co-management arrangements we’ve had in the past in the context of local iwi working with local government on the management of local natural resources in the context of Treaty settlements have been, by and large, really successful and something we should be really proud about.

“But now we start to talk about, increasingly in Wellington over the last few years – and again, it’s confusing – about co-governance and separate systems for the delivery of public services, and that’s just something that is very different – and from my point of view there’s a principled objection to that around the fact that there’s one government, public services are designed to deliver for people in need across all of New Zealand.

National leader Christopher Luxon and deputy leader Nicola Willis. Photo / Mark Mitchell
National leader Christopher Luxon and deputy leader Nicola Willis. Photo / Mark Mitchell

“The model I want to use is actually massive deployment and delivery of those services through Māori iwi community organisations, but within the coherence of one system. On the other hand, frankly, is the build-up of massive bureaucracies in Wellington.”

National has promised to scrap the Te Aka Whai Ora / Māori Health Authority if elected.

‘Doesn’t make a lot of sense’

Morning Report host Guyon Espiner requested Luxon in regards to the Māori seats, that are open to candidates of any ethnicity however since their creation in 1867 have been meant to ensure some degree of Māori illustration in Parliament.

“Historically, that has been something that we’ve said – look, one person one vote – that doesn’t make a lot of sense in our view,” Luxon replied.

“But the reality is, being quite pragmatic … the Māori seats have been present in our system for some time. They’re not going away.”

Eligible voters even have two votes in New Zealand basic elections – one for a social gathering, the opposite a candidate – and being on the Māori electoral roll doesn’t truly entitle somebody to extra votes than a voter on the final roll.

Luxon mentioned the National Party’s historic opposition to Māori seats in Parliament and native authorities is the “logical conclusion” of believing in “one person, one vote, all equal under the law”.

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But he mentioned the “pragmatic” transfer this yr was to face candidates in them anyway, and denied this was inconsistent with opposition to co-governance.

“It is utterly consistent.”

Co-governance focus at Rātana was acceptable, Luxon says

Questioned by reporters in Auckland this afternoon, Luxon was challenged over his deal with co-governance at Rātana, the place politics usually offers approach to ceremony.

He mentioned the matter was of nationwide significance, and had been raised with him – he had been challenged on the paepae to cease being afraid of co-governance.

“I did need to raise that issue bcause it was raised with me on the marae from the other side and it was done respectfully and it was done in an appropriate way and I actually want to model out to New Zealand and to the rest of us how we can have intelligent and proper, grown-up conversations without anyone just jumping to reflexive positions without calling so-and-so names.

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“I also felt it would be disingenuous of me to stand there – when I’m trying to build a relationship with Rātana – not to say what I felt … I was trying to lay out the context.”

He additionally took pains to make clear what he understood co-governance to imply.

“We’ve understood the word co-governance to mean local government working with local iwi on the management of local natural resources in the context of Treaty settlements,” he mentioned.

“What we’ve seen is that word has been taken and put into a completely different context with the creation of what would actually be separate and different delivery of public services. We do not want two systems of health, two education systems, two justice systems.

“Those issues that are of national importance in the delivery of public services are very different from localism and devolution where there is good partnership happening, and actually excellent results being achieved in the co-management or co-governance of local natural assets in the context of Treaty settlements.”

Hipkins dismisses issues

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In his speech at Rātana on Tuesday, Hipkins mentioned there have been fears within the Nineties his native park could be closed when it was positioned underneath a co-governance association as half of a Treaty settlement – however that by no means got here to go, and “facilities at the park are [now] better than they ever have been”.

“Race relations should not ever be used as an issue to divide New Zealanders with,” he advised media. “Certainly in the past it has been.”

His first Cabinet assembly as Prime Minister came about after a swearing-in ceremony round lunchtime at the moment. He has hinted at rolling again some of the Government’s agenda to deal with the cost-of-living disaster and inflation.

– RNZ

National Party leader Christopher Luxon says Māori seats don’t ‘make a lot of sense’

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