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Boosting Māori political participation crucial

Māori Caucus
11 June 2013
Boosting Māori political participation crucial

The Labour Māori Caucus is calling on whānau, hapū and iwi around the country to work together to increase the number of Māori signing up to the Māori Electoral Option says Associate Māori Affairs spokesperson, Rino Tirikatene.

“We are halfway through the four month Māori Electoral Option process and there have only been 4,984 net enrolments on the Māori Role compared to the 7,457 net enrolments at the halfway point in 2006.

“The last time the Māori Electoral Option was offered, the net increase was 14,914 on the Māori Roll which compares to the 13,588 voters in Ikaroa-Rāwhiti who chose not to vote in the last election.

“The low up take of Māori voters to the Māori Roll has been blamed by political commentators on the split in the Māori Party leadership but the real question we need to ask now not later is: how do we engage our people and what is the cost to us of not exercising our collective political muscle?”

“There is a large constitutional debate occurring around the country at the moment so if Māori continue to disengage in our political process this could have far reaching consequences for our people.

“We need to move Māori to the polls, we need to move Māori to power and we need to move Māori to change – but that change can only occur once we address the root causes of the streamlined apathy within Māoridom.

“The Labour Māori Caucus has conducted an analysis into the Māori seats issue and we are confident that we will not lose a seat but that same analysis shows no Māori seats will be gained. It would be disappointing if Māori were to lose the opportunity to increase their influence in the Beehive.

“It is crucial to ensure Māori fully exercise their political power to participate and be active in decision-making in Parliament. This is essential to overcome historical inequalities and discrimination.

“Indicators of extreme poverty in Aotearoa are twice as high among Māori, median income for Māori has fallen to an all-time low since 2008 and real capita income for Māori has fallen by 14 percent, while real per capita income for non-Māori has increased by 3 percent,” says Mr Tirikatene.


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