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National won't abolish Maori seats: PM

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/02/2017

Abolishing the Maori seats in parliament is no longer National Party policy, Prime Minister Bill English has confirmed.

It's been on National's books as a policy since 2003, and Monday's agreement between the Maori and Mana parties to help each other win seats in this year's election has brought it back into focus.

Since 2008, National has had a support agreement with the Maori Party and benefited from its votes in parliament.

"It was policy back in the early 2000s but we're not campaigning on it, it's not part of our policy," Mr English told reporters on Tuesday.

"It's currently not our policy, we are not setting out to abolish the Maori seats."

Mr English said he didn't think there was a mood in the National Party to abolish the seats, and he didn't sense the mood in the wider public either.

"Back in the early 2000s there was some of that mood, it's not the policy any more," he said.

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