The Press

Peters: All races will get their say


A vote on a referendum to abolish the Maori seats will be for everyone ‘‘regardless of race’’, says Winston Peters.

The NZ First leader has ruled out only those on the Maori roll voting in a referendum on whether to keep the seven Maori seats - a bottom-line policy announced at the weekend.

Peters said he made it ‘‘very clear’’ to party supporters on Sunday that this is a ‘‘vote for everybody who is over 18 years of age, who is entitled to be on the New Zealand electoral roll regardless of race’’.

In an NZME article on Tuesday, Peters was quoted saying, ‘‘of course it should be up to Maori to decide if the seats go, but I’m making a speech about it very shortly and I will tell you the full parameters of that’’.

Yesterday, Peters was furious at the suggestion he was ‘‘flipfloppi­ng’’ on the issue.

‘‘Some people would say the only people that should be able to decide are Maori on the Maori roll - what about the mass majority of Maori who are not on the Maori roll?

‘‘Those (on the general roll) should be entitled to vote on it as well and in that case so should everyone else,’’ he said.

The NZ First caucus discussed the referendum several times before the policy announceme­nt at the weekend, he said. ‘‘I can tell you it was agreed without demur.’’ ❚ Peters’ demands, Opinion A9

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