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Sunday, 16 December 2018 03:16 pm

Māori voters to choose their roll over the coming months

Apr 5th, 2018 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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Thousands of voters will have the opportunity to enrol on the Māori roll over the coming months.

This year 47,000 information packs will be sent to voters who self-identified as Māori when they enrolled to vote, as part of the Māori Electoral Option.

Māori choose whether or not to be on the Māori or the general roll every five years.

Amanda Pahi says she chooses the Māori roll to make sure Māori continue to be represented in Parliament.

“Without going into too much history we are the indigenous people of this land,” says Ms Pahi.

She says it’s important to have Māori representation in Parliament.

“Otherwise we will give up.”

Ms Pahi says she will encourage her two children, who are now of voting age, to enrol on the Māori roll.

“The more people who vote on the Māori roll the more impact we will have in Parliament.

“At the end of the day it is their choice but I would definitely encourage them to go onto the Māori roll.”

In a media release, the Electoral Commission national manager of enrolment and community engagement, Mandy Bohté, said people should keep an eye out for the information packs, which were sent out yesterday.

“It will tell you which roll you’re on and give you the option of changing roll types.

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“If you’re happy with the roll you’re on, you don’t need to do anything. If you do want to change rolls, then sign the letter and return it to us.”

There are currently seven Māori electorates, which is disproportionate to the number of Māori living in New Zealand.

Co-leader of the Māori Party and former MP Marama Fox says there is the potential for there to be 18 Māori seats in Parliament.

“Imagine the powerful statement of Tino Rangatiratanga,” says Ms Fox.

She believes Māori should automatically be enrolled onto the Māori Roll, with an opt-out option, rather than the Māori roll being and opt-in system.

The Māori electoral option happens every five years, directly after the census.

Ms Fox believes the Māori Electoral Option should be tied to the election cycle, rather than the census.

“People forget about it,” says Ms Fox.

Whereas this year the census directly followed an election, when the census falls in the middle of an election cycle there tends to be an decrease in the numbers on the Māori Roll, as politics in not necessarily in the forefront of people’s minds.

It determines who will vote in the Māori seats for the next two general elections.

Only people of New Zealand Māori descent are eligible to enrol on the Māori roll.

The Māori electoral option ends on August 2.

Anyone who has not receive an information pack, but believes they should, can visit maorioption.org.nz or call 0800 36 76 56.

 

 

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