NZ First leader Winston Peters has now confirmed he wants a full referendum on the Maori seats after appearing to suggest he was reconsidering whether to put the matter to Maori only.
Peters told the Herald yesterday he agreed it was up to Maori to decide on the future of the seats, and he would deliver a speech on the referendum soon.
Asked about MP Pita Paraone's belief it should be for Maori voters only, Peters said: "Of course it should be up to Maori to decide if the seats go, but I'm making a speech about it very shortly and I will tell you the full parameters of that."
Asked if he was still proposing a referendum of all eligible voters, he said: "Well, I've heard what has been said by people who have interviewed Pita [Paraone] and maybe others, and the question is whether is it full conscription and I'll have that answer in a speech I'm giving shortly."
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He said as well as Maori on the Maori roll, there were Maori on the general roll and those who were not enrolled at all. "The next question is everybody else."
Today he said the conclusion that might signal a rethink on a universal referendum was "unmitigated crap" and "false news". He was not considering a change from his initial promise of a binding referendum of all voters on the matter.
Asked what he had meant, Peters said he thought he was being asked whether Maori who were not on the Maori roll would get a vote - although the question he was asked was whether the referendum would be all eligible voters.
"I said we were going to have a full referendum. Why would anybody think otherwise? Why does NZ First have to explain every detail that is obvious? If there was an exception, or a codicil or a proviso we would have said so."
He would not say what the speech he was referring to would actually be about or when he would deliver it. "You'll just have to wait for it."
That speech would include cartoons for people who could not work out "the obvious".