What have the Maori seats ever actually accomplished for Maori?
Pre-MMP, Maori were disadvantaged by the Maori electorates’ very existence. The very large Maori Labour vote was concentrated in just 4 seats. This was a major factor in allowing National to become government with less overall votes than Labour on more than one occasion.
If the Maori vote had been spread over the general electorate, Maori would have had a more realistic say in their choice of government.
Not that it would have done them any good. After the initial burst of humanitarian zeal by the first Labour Government what have Labour actually done for Maori?
This is an issue of emotions and perceptions. If more Maori were to take note of what’s happening around them and what’s in their long term best interests instead of giving in to knee-jerk reactions whenever Labour, Maori sovereignty or tino rangatiratanga are mentioned, they’d have ditched the Maori seats years ago.
The gains Maori have made in recent years, particularly the laudable treaty settlements, were a direct result of National Government initiatives.
Nevertheless, the future of Maori seats is an issue for Maori to decide. Not for the rest of us and not for a National Government.