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Sharples takes issue with media advice on voting

Sharples takes issue with media advice on voting

Dr Pita Sharples, Maori Party Co-leader

7 November 2008

Dr Pita Sharples is furious at statements by some media commentators that a vote for the Maori Party is a wasted vote.

"For too long, others have exercised influence on our behalf, and made decisions for us. That includes media commentators who tell us how to vote," he said.

"Voting is the fundamental civil right in a democracy. People have fought and died for the right to vote. All over the world, including just a few days ago in the most powerful nation on earth, the United States, people have exercised the liberating power of a democratic vote.

"Our people did not put us into Parliament to make up the numbers for some other party," said Dr Sharples. "They put us here to build Maori potential, and they expect us to be the independent voice of Maori in the Parliament. We in turn seek their commitment to that vision, by giving us two ticks, one for the candidate and one for the kaupapa, the values and principles we stand for.

"We are keenly contesting the outcome of this election, but there is also a bigger picture. We have been here for a thousand years, and we will be here for thousands of years to come. Our people must not give up control of their vote to others at this critical moment," said Dr Sharples.

"Our message has been that people can give themselves a vote of confidence, that they can control their own destiny."

"A big component of our campaign is to motivate the people to get involved - to register, and to get out on election day to cast a vote. It is just as important to make your own decision about who you vote for."

"Nobody knows how the cards will fall tomorrow," said Dr Sharples. "But telling voters, on election eve, that their vote will be wasted is an irresponsible and inappropriate use of power."

"We do not expect anyone in the media to place any barriers in the way of any voter, seeking to make a choice to support and strong and independent Maori Party through the power of their vote."


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