Turia in support of inquiry into low voter turnout
The Hon Tariana Turia
Maori Party Co-Leader | MP for Te Tai Hauauru
Friday 2 December 2011
Maori Party co-leader, Tariana Turia, has come out in support of the call for an inquiry into low voter turnout.
"Turnout is a huge issue in the Maori electorates" said Tariana Turia.
"Over the last three elections the turnout has declined dramatically from 67% (2005) to 62% (2008) and preliminary data is suggesting just 48% of enrolled Maori voters turned out to vote in this year's election.
" In fact, voting statistics for Māori indicate a consistently lower level of voter participation in general elections since 1935.
"It is of great concern to us that Maori are turning away from active participation in election and in politics, by choosing not to enrol nor to vote.
"One idea we have considered is that all Maori should be automatically entered on to the Maori roll at the age of 18, (with the option to transfer to the General Roll if they preferred). At least then, one part of the process - enrolment - would be taken care of, and we could just focus on the significance of turning up to vote on polling day".
"The two vote system (electorate and party vote) together with the increased competition of the Maori vote, has actually increased the significance of the votes in the Maori electorate as potentially carrying the balance of power" said Mrs Turia.
"We need to educate our whanau to know that every vote is worthwhile, and that participating in the electoral process is a key marker of participation in our society".
"Getting out the vote must exercise our most creative minds, to see how we can mobilise and inspire voters to understand their voting power".