New Zealand First has benefited in the past from MPs in Maori seats.

But they seemed to have served their purpose for the party, which is now saying that if it governed it would hold a referendum on the future of Maori seats - and also look at reducing the number of MPs.

Some argue that Maori seats have had their day because of the stronger overall presence of Maori across Parliament.

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NZ First leader Winston Peters hints at re-think on Maori seats referendum

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Come September 23, Northland could indeed end up with a strong Maori MP representation in Parliament - Maori seats or not.

What happens in a scenario when the elected MPs are not Maori?

Which is where the Maori seats come in. If the Maori voice ever fails to be heard through elected Maori MPs, the seats are there as back-up.

Because like it or note, if we had no Maori seats and ended up with only - or mostly - Pakeha MPs, it would not be good for New Zealand. And someone would be arguing for Maori seats.

Bear in mind a referendum could be disastrous for Maori seats, if Maori did not express their view.

Which is where the debate could have its true merits - forcing Maori to vote to retain the seats could engage more Maori politically. Although whether that would follow through to the next general election, who knows.

A referendum would also give those with anti-Maori views a chance to express an opinion that would be unlikely to be politically motivated.

There is a way around that though - limiting the Maori seat referendum to voters who are only on the Maori electoral roll would give the truest indication of whether or not the seats have had their day.

But then we are back to square one - only if Maori voters voted.

Many ducks need to be in a row for NZ First to be in a position to govern - it is this country's very own political Groundhog Day issue.

We know what would happen if the party does govern. If it doesn't, what would happen if nothing happened? Would we be worse off if we retained Maori seats?

Unlikely.

The Maori seats are a pre-election talking point rather than a neglected issue desperately needing attention.

It will be interesting to see all the candidates' views on the latter as the election gets nearer.