“The self-proclaimed Māori leaders who wrote an open letter in the Herald this morning appear to fight racism for purely political reasons”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“They were silent about Te Pati Māori’s claims that Māori are genetically superior, or that houses should be kept for Māori and not immigrants. Or when a Te Pati Māori candidate said ‘The Pākehā concept [of Matariki] is often about getting drunk and releasing fireworks at midnight’. Or when Rawiri Waititi said about European New Zealanders: their ‘archaic species is becoming more extinct as a new Aotearoa is on the rise.’

“People should oppose racism all the time, not just when it’s politically convenient.

“The only reference to ACT appears to be this: ‘it is ignorant to think you have a right to erase te Tiriti from legislation and rewrite it in your own words.’ That comment in itself shows profound ignorance.

“ACT’s policy, set out at some length our document ‘Democracy or Co-Government?’, is for Parliament, not ACT, to properly define the principles of the Treaty. It was Parliament that said there were principles in the first place, so Parliament is well within its rights to say what those principles mean.

“The open letter goes on to reference ‘the race-baiting policies of the Act Party.’ The letter never says what they are. It is a serious accusation backed up by zero evidence.

“These self-appointed leaders should be more responsible with accusations of racism. By misusing such a powerful accusation, they damage its meaning, and make it harder to fight actual racism.”

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