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Wednesday, 19 September 2018 06:59 pm

Maori unlikely to bother with flag vote based on history

Feb 25th, 2016 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Lead Story, News

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ONLY about 27 per cent of all voters from the seven Maori electorates cast their vote in the first flag referendum last year.

Enrolments for the second referendum close on March 2 and voting papers will be sent out on March 3.

The number of voters from the Maori electorates is significantly lower in than the general electorates.

The lowest turnout from the general electorates came from Kelston with about 38% of eligible voters.

However, the highest turnout from the Maori electorate came out at about 30% from Te Tai Tonga.

Stephen Levine, Professor of History, Philosophy, Political Science & International Relations at Victoria University, says this is a steady voting trend.

“Turnout in Maori electorates, at general elections, is often significantly lower than in other electorates, so in that respect these figures are consistent with trends in voter turnout more generally,” he says.

Professor of Public Policy at Victoria University Jonathan Boston says the same pattern of voting happens in the United States as well as in New Zealand.

“Voter turnout in Maori electorates has been consistently lower than in general electorates for as long as I can remember. There are no doubt various reasons for this, including the fact that poorer people tend to vote less than those who are better off, and Maori are disproportionately poor. The same phenomena are evident in other democracies, such as the US,” he says.

Less than half of Kiwis voted in the first referendum to change the New Zealand flag.

The winner of the referendum, Kyle Lockwood’s ‘Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue),’ gained about 40 per cent of the total 1,546,734 votes.

Mr Lockwood holds both first and second place in the referendum, with his two designs collectively earning about 81 per cent of the votes.

A release put out by New Zealand’s Electoral Commission says that about 48 per cent of all eligible New Zealanders voted.

The highest percentage of voters came from the Selwyn electorate, with just over 60% turnout.

Aaron Dustin’s ‘Red Peak’ design came in third place, after a petition travelled the country to have it included in the referendum.

The second referendum will be held from 3rd to the 24th of March 2016 to decide the official New Zealand flag.

Voters will be asked to choose between Silver Fern (Black, White and Blue) and the current flag.

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is a journalism student at Whitireia.
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