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$4.6m campaign to boost Maori seats fails

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman

4 July 2006

$4.6m campaign to boost Maori seats fails

National’s Maori Affairs spokesman, Gerry Brownlee, says a $4.6 million campaign to increase the number of Maori seats has proven futile.

He is responding to the release of figures today by the Electoral Enrolment Centre which show a net gain of less than 11,000 for the Maori Roll, two-thirds of the way through a campaign to increase the number of people on the roll.

Campaigners hoped to gain an additional two seats for the next two electoral cycles.

“The only thing that this very expensive campaign has achieved is to prove that the appetite for race-based seats is not strong,”says Mr Brownlee.

“It’s very hard to justify holding onto these seats when, despite a multimillion-dollar taxpayer funded, three-month campaign, more than 6,000 Maori have opted to move off the Maori Roll.

“Half of enrolled Maori prefer to enrol on the general roll rather than the Maori roll for general elections, and most of them vote for mainstream parties.

“Hopefully the failure of this expensive campaign will lead to a serious debate as to whether or not the continued existence of Maori seats is justified,” says Mr Brownlee.

ENDS

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