Prime Minister John Key said abolishing the Maori seats would
rip the country apart and attract "hikois from hell".
Speaking to the Herald before the release of Nicky Hager's
book Dirty Politics, he said that while it remained National
Party policy to abolish the seats, he would abolish them only
with the agreement of Maori.
"It would divide the nation," he said. "Despite the fact that
a lot of people say they don't like it and they were there
for a particular reason, actually it would be an incredibly
divisive thing to do to New Zealand and New Zealanders.
"Do you really want to rip a country apart? I'll tell you
what would happen - hikois from hell."
Mr Key made his comments in the Herald's Hot Seat interviews
for herald.co.nz which finish today, although all interviews
will remain on the website.
While abolishing the seats has been long-standing policy for
National, Act and United Future, the Maori Party's confidence
and supply agreement with National saw it parked as an active
But even if the Maori Party were not in the next Parliament,
Mr Key has effectively protected them.
He also indicated he would be receptive to the
flexi-superannuation proposal of United Future leader Peter
Dunne in any third term.
Flexi-super would allow people to take super earlier than 65
but at a lower rate or wait longer for it and get more.
But it would not alter the cost to the taxpayer and Mr Key
said it would not affect his 2008 pledge to resign if the age
of superannuation was raised above 65. That pledge would
remain for any third term or even any fourth term, he said.
He also believed superannuation was still affordable in its
"The scheme at its maximum cost runs out to about 7 per cent
or 7.5 per cent of GDP. That's still below almost all the
countries that are raising their age of super. I am not so
convinced it is this massive issue we all think."
Mr Key also discussed his next Cabinet, should he be returned
to power. Deputy Prime Minister Bill English would remain
Finance Minister as long as he wanted it.
He indicated Paula Bennett would change after six years as
Minister of Social Development, possibly to a more
commercially focused post.
- by Audrey Young, NZ Herald