“These seats are patronising”, he says. “They imply we need a special status, and that we somehow have failed to integrate into modern society.”
Mr Rankin also cites history, pointing out that the seats were only ever meant to be temporary, and that the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform recommended that the seats be abolished if MMP was introduced.
“Maori are already moving in the direction of abolition,” says Mr Rankin. “Less than half of Maori are now on the Maori roll, and the number is falling. And to make matters worse, the turn-out in the Maori electorates is the lowest of all the electorates in the country. “
Mr Rankin describes the continued existence of the Maori electorates as “an embarrassment”, and plans to start circulating the petition within the next three months.