“New Zealand’s electoral system should focus on our common interests and treat voters equally, but Labour’s plan for Māori wards would take us down a divisive path,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Equality before the law and local democracy are critically important.

“ACT believes that all individuals should be equal before the law regardless of race, gender, sexuality, religion or political belief.

“We joke about this Government being undemocratic, but I never thought I’d see Labour taking away the right to vote just because they don’t like people’s choices.

“If Labour is serious about consistency between wards, the democratic approach would be to expand voters’ rights to allow them to recall any scheme councillors introduce given councillors are setting up a scheme for their own election.

“ACT believes in the inherent dignity of each and every individual. Making laws that give people different rights based on who their great grandparents were is fundamentally divisive.

“We do not believe Māori wards are necessary to achieve representation.

“ACT will vigorously oppose Labour’s plan to remove the current right voters have to trigger a local referendum and will put forward amendments so voters can recall any scheme put forward by councillors.

“Power over democratic institutions should rest with the people who pay the rates, not the people who spend it.”

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