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Rawiri Waititi Announces Members Bill Allowing Māori To Move Freely Across Electoral Roles

Te Pāti Māori Co-Leader Rawiri Waititi has today submitted his first Member’s Bill, the Electoral (Right to Switch Rolls Freely) Amendment Bill, into the Member’s Ballot. This legislation will allow Māori voters to switch between the Māori and non-Māori electoral rolls at any time.

“Our electoral law is archaric. It’s discriminatory. It’s anti-democratic. It’s racist,” said Waititi.

“There are only two opportunities for Māori to choose electoral rolls; either at the time of initial enrolment OR during the Māori electoral option period, which takes place over a four month period every five to six years.

“Just this week I was notified of a young man enrolling for the first time, only to see that the General Roll option was automatically filled in for him.

“This is no accident. The barriers in place are calculated to lock Tangata Whenua out from fully participating in our democracy. The entire system is designed to disenfranchise Māori voters from exercising their choice and it is locking us out.”

Specifically, the Bill will;

· Allow Māori to change between the Māori and general electoral rolls at any time.

· Change the requirement to redraw electoral boundaries to a set date two years after each general election.

· Set a legislative requirement that if someone stipulates they are Māori when enrolling but doesn’t choose an electoral roll, they are automatically placed on the Māori electoral roll.

· Change the name of ‘general electoral district’ to ‘non-Māori electoral district’

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“The Commission has reported that thousands of Māori request to change electoral rolls every year. This has likely led to thousands of Māori disengaging from the electoral process altogether and have recommended they recommended Māori voters be able to change roll type at any time.

“I am encouraging all my fellow MPs to support this Bill. Supporting is consciously choosing to actively participate in a Tiriti-Centric Aotearoa; recognising the mana of the Treaty that our ancestors signed together. It is choosing to actively create an environment that sees Tangata Whenua participating equally in society. Supporting this Bill is being a good ancestor to the mokopuna we are yet to meet.

“Opposing this Bill is consciously choosing to breach Te Tiriti o Waitangi, consciously choosing to contribute to the continued marginalisation of Tangata Whenua and consciously supporting racism against Tangata Whenua in Aotearoa. Our mokopuna expect and deserve better from all of us.”


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