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Positive Result From Recount

Positive Result From Recount

MANA Leader and Tai Tokerau Spokesman Hone Harawira

Fri 10 October 2014

When I applied for a recount of the votes from the Tai Tokerau election, I made it clear that this application was not aimed at overturning the election result, but ensuring that all votes cast by Maori were treated with due respect, regardless of whether those votes are for Labour, Maori Party or MANA. Anyone who was paying attention after election day would have seen that I was accepting of the result for myself and MANA and that the decision to apply for a recount was not about being MP for Te Tai Tokerau but about the hundreds of voters who simply didn’t get their vote counted, despite actually trying to.

That recount has now been completed, and although there has been no significant change to the results, we look forward to the evaluation of Judge Broadmore and the response of the Electoral Commission to the issues we have raised, particularly changes needed to make it easier for people enrolling to vote, clarification of procedures around special voting, and ensuring voters are given every opportunity to have their votes recorded properly.

28,000 special votes across the country were disqualified for various reasons. In Tai Tokerau alone, 1,000 Maori special votes were disqualified. Some of the reasons were:

• People had moved address (although still in the Tai Tokerau)

• Although they were already enrolled – they’d been cut off because they hadn’t updated their information

• The new address people had given was not accepted

• Although they’d voted in past elections, there was no record of their enrolment

• If they’d been in prison, they’d been removed from the roll

And we have recently learned that some of these problems have been around since Matiu Rata left Labour to form Mana Motuhake back in 1979!

I’m surprised that no other party has bothered to seek a recount in a Maori electorate before, particularly given the widespread concern about people not voting, and that’s why I am proud of the effort and the expense that MANA has put into this exercise to try to ensure our people’s votes are treated with more respect in future.

I wish to thank the Judge Broadmore, electoral officials, and scrutineers from both MANA and the Labour Party for participating in the recount and I look forward to submitting recommendations on ways in which the electoral process may be improved.

I urge people wanting to know if their special votes counted, to ring the Electoral Commission on 0800 367656, or to update their details online.

On another note … there are still a number of issues affecting Maori voting which still need to be addressed, including polling booths without Maori roll voting papers; Maori people being turned away because their name wasn’t on the roll; Maori people being turned away because they didn’t have their ‘easy vote’ card; Maori people being told they can’t cast a special vote; Maori people being told they can’t vote at certain polling booths; Maori people being told to wait while Pakeha voters were served first; Maori people being told they have to travel more than 40kms to vote; Maori people not being offered assistance to vote; and Maori people having their identity questioned because of their many names. I hope to follow these issues up through other avenues in the weeks ahead.

ENDS


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