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Where are the young people?

Where are the young people?

National's Maori Affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee says young Maori seem to be ignoring the Maori Electoral Option and registering on the general roll but not identifying as Maori.

Speaking on Eye to Eye with Willie Jackson on TV ONE on Saturday morning, Brownlee said there was a missing group in the statistics for people registering on the Maori roll.

"If you think back to the 2001 census, one of the highlighted facts in that census was that under-20 year olds saw the breakdown between Maori and non-Maori almost equal. From my memory I think almost 40% of those under 20 in the 2001 census were Maori and my question now is that these people are 20 plus, who should be enrolling for the first time - where are they? And what I would wonder is if some of them are in fact enrolling on the General Roll, but not identifying as Maori.

"There is a missing group in our population who are Maori under the age of 20 at the time of the last census who don't appear to be showing up in these statistics. We have all of this effort and only 7,000 new people on the roll, that's pretty low.”

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell disagreed that young people were the problem with the disappointing Maori Electoral Option result so far. He said he thought the marketing campaign could have been better. In the Maori Party's own public campaigning he saw a lot of interest from young people; it was people 30 upwards who were the harder sell.

Also on the programme, Gerry Brownlee disagreed with Labour's Shane Jones' comments earlier in the week that voter dis-satisfaction with the Maori Party was partly responsible for the low result. "Back in May I was predicting that there would be two or three new Maori seats because I thought quite genuinely that the way in which the Maori Party presented themselves would be attractive to a lot of Maori, particularly young Maori and I think that that's been the surprise over the last couple of weeks as the figures have slowly come though, young Maori are just not there.”

Eye to Eye with Willie Jackson screens on Saturday morning at 9.30am on TV One and is repeated on Tuesday nights at 11pm.


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