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Maori Electoral Option launched today

28 March 2001 Media Statement

Maori Electoral Option launched today

The Maori Option is an opportunity too good for whanau, hapu and iwi to ignore, says Associate Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia.

The Maori Option was launched in Wellington today by Hon Margaret Wilson Associate Minister of Justice and Hon Parekura Horomia, Maori Affairs Minister.

The Maori Option slogan for 2001 is 'Its your choice: Maori Roll or General Roll', and it will run from 2 April and 1 August.

"This Maori electoral option gives Maori the opportunity to ensure as whanau, all those eligible to enrol on the electoral roll are enrolled, so that you can help determine who represents you.

"It is up to Maori people to decide who they think can best represent their issues and interests in Parliament.

"It is up to Maori people to decide how many Maori Electorate Members of Parliament there should be, by making the choice of whether to be on the Maori roll.

"Georgina Beyer General Electorate MP for Wairarapa is herself enrolled on the Maori roll. Today she acknowledged the importance and need for Maori electorate representation at this level.

"Neither governments nor political parties cannot decide how many Maori seats will exist, that is entirely up to Maori people.

"Currently we have 6 Maori electorate seats, each of them covers several general electorate seats, the largest is Te Tai Tonga, which covers all of the South Is, Wharekauri (Chatham Island) and Rakiura (Stewart Island), Porirua, Kapiti Coast, Wellington and Lower Hutt.

"Maori communities see their elected representatives much less often than both the Maori Electorate MP and the community would like, due to the distance Maori Electorate MPs must travel to reach all the communities.

"As Maori, we have the option of the Maori roll. It is a fact that the more Maori electorate seats there are the easier it will be for Maori MPs to properly service Maori communities, the choice is ours", Tariana Turia said.

ENDS

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