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'Enrol to Play a Role'

'Enrol to Play a Role'
Dr Pita Sharples and Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leaders Maori Party
Sunday 4 May 2008, 10am

The Maori Party is pleased to endorse the enrolment update campaign launched today.
“Electoral enrolment is a vital component in recognizing our civil and political rights” said Dr Pita Sharples, Justice spokesperson for the Maori Party.

“The proportion of New Zealanders registered on the electoral roll is a key marker of participation in the democratic process” said Dr Sharples. “At its most basic form, it is a measure of the extent to which citizens believe they can influence decision making and help to make choices about their own lives”.

“The issue which must concern all New Zealanders is the huge number of those aged between 18-24 years who are not enrolled (comprising 48% of those who are not enrolled)” said Mrs Turia.

“Rangatahi constitute a very significant group amongst our population (46% of the Maori population are under 19 years of age)” said Dr Sharples. “So we can be fairly confident that amongst the 100,000 or so young people not enrolled, Maori will be a sizeable sector of that population”.

“As well as not being on the roll, the research released today also tells us that Maori, Pasifika, Asian and youth are more likely to be unaware that this year is election year”.

“We can all play a part in lifting the numbers” said Mrs Turia. “The Maori Party is doing its bit – we start today a week long policy tour across Waiariki and Te Tai Hauauru, encouraging all of our people to join the process”.

“A big interest for us is to restore confidence and trust amongst our young, about the opportunities to contribute politically” said Dr Sharples.

“So the message we’ll be spreading is ‘enrol to play a role’ – a role in shaping our futures, a role in influencing the political environment, a role in being actively involved in our democratic processes, a role in being full participants in our communities”.

"The wonderful thing is that this is a message that can be promoted at the kitchen table, in the sportsclub, across all of our marae" said Mrs Turia.

“Of course enrolment is just one part of the jigsaw” said Mrs Turia. “The challenge for Parliament is that while electoral enrolment is mandatory, voting is not. Voter turnout is therefore a measure of the extent of the trust people have for political institutions”.

“The Maori Party suggests there is a moral and civic obligation upon all parties and players to do their utmost to create confidence in the political processes and institutions on offer”.


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