“Chris Hipkins is gaslighting New Zealanders on co-government,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“On Radio NZ this morning he said: “Co-governance doesn’t just relate to Māori issues. It’s basically shared decision-making … in some areas we work together with farmers. I wouldn’t rule out doing more of that … Māori issues are only one area that might happen.”

“The idea that giving different legal rights to Māori in health, water infrastructure, local government and resource management is somehow the same as consulting farmers on farming policy is a pathetic attempt to gaslight voters.

“New Zealanders aren’t stupid – they know Labour has attempted radical constitutional change by giving different groups different rights.

“Hipkins’ comments are also diametrically opposed to what his Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said earlier this month. Jackson used his final speech of the Parliamentary term to declare that ‘Māori do have a separate set of rights.’

“Is Hipkins now saying Māori do not have separate rights?

“What’s at stake this election is clear, and ACT will be equally unequivocal – all New Zealanders should have the same rights.

“This election, voters are being presented with two starkly contrasting sets of values. One openly admits that Māori have separate rights, while the other says that New Zealand is made up of hundreds of cultures, all of which are entitled to the same rights and duties.

“We must appreciate cultures and celebrate people’s differences without offering them different sets of rights based on factors beyond their control. Where will New Zealand be in fifty years’ time if the current path continues, where Kiwis are offered different rights based on their ancestry?

“Only a Party Vote for ACT this election will bring about a government which treats all New Zealanders as equals.”

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