NZ First has set new standards in hypocrisy in campaigning to abolish the Māori seats but now voting for a Bill that entrenches them, National’s Electoral law spokesperson Nick Smith says.

“NZ First MP’s are total hypocrites. You cannot go to the electorate promising to abolish the Māori Seats and then vote for a Bill that entrenches them.

“The NZ First policy to abolish the Māori seats was announced as a bottom line of the party by Winston Peters who described them as ‘separatism’, that they ‘had had their day’ and ‘had to go’.

“Mr Peters stated in April ‘That entrenching the Māori seats was not part and parcel of any coalition agreement’ and Shane Jones ruled out voting for it saying ‘I don’t know anyone in our caucus who is going to vote for the entrenchment.’

“NZ First has attempted to hide it’s nakedness on this issue with a fig leaf claiming it will introduce an amendment to the Bill providing a referendum on abolition. This is out of scope under Parliament’s rules and prohibited.

“The only conclusion New Zealanders can draw on this disgraceful back flip from NZ First is that you cannot trust a word that Mr Peters or his party says and something that is becoming increasingly true of the entire Government. They will say whatever it takes to get votes and do whatever it takes to stay in power.”

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