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Maori Electoral Option to start in April 2006

15 December 2005

Maori Electoral Option to start in April 2006

The Ministers of Justice and Maori Affairs, Mark Burton and Parekura Horomia announced today that the Maori Electoral Option will run from April to August next year.

Mark Burton said that the Maori Electoral Option gives Maori the opportunity to choose whether to be enrolled on the general electoral roll or the Maori electoral roll.

"The Maori Electoral Option is held as close as possible to the five yearly New Zealand Population and Dwelling Census which is being held in March.

"Updated statistics from the Census are used to determine the number of electorates for the next scheduled general election.

"Currently some 380,000 people identified of Maori descent are enrolled to vote. 210,000 people are on the Maori electoral roll.

"The decisions Maori make during the Maori Electoral Option also helps decide the number of Maori electorates for the next election," Mark Burton said.

"The first four Maori seats were established by the Maori Representation Act in 1867. One hundred and twenty-six years later in 1993 this number was increased to 5 by the electoral act. Nine years on from then the number of Maori seats rose to 7 ? what we have today," said Parekura Horomia.

"Since the 1868 general election that first brought Maori MPs into existence there have been in excess of 80 Maori members of parliament (many of this number have served multiple terms)," Parekura Horomia added.

The Ministers encourage all Maori to ensure that they are enrolled on a roll because the most important thing is to participate.

The 2006 Maori Electoral Option will be run by the Electoral Enrolment Centre.

More information about the Maori Electoral Option is available from http://www.elections.org.nz/enrolment/maori_option_faq.html.

ENDS

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