Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Electoral Commission Undermining of Maori Rights

MEDIA RELEASE Saturday 16th September 2017
For immediate release

Electoral Commission Undermining of Maori Rights – Complaints Nationwide

Only a week into early voting, complaints have been laid with the Electoral Commission about misinformation being provided to Maori electors, causing confusion and non-voting amongst Maori electors and refreshing previous claims of deliberate sabotage by polling booth staff of Maori votes. Veronica Tawhai, a Maori politics lecturer and citizenship educator at Massey University, has received numerous complaints from Maori electors across the country regarding the Electoral Commission. However, her requests that a memo be sent immediately to all staff to ensure accurate information is being provided to electors appears to have been ignored, calling into question the commitment of the Commission to ‘democracy for all’.

“Maori and particularly young Maori are constantly criticised for either being uninformed, uninterested or apathetic when it comes to participating in political activities such as voting” states Ms Tawhai, “and yet when our people attempt to be proactive in exercising our democratic rights – such as casting an early vote – some are prevented from doing so due to ignorance amongst officials that are meant to be assisting in the process. This is completely unacceptable and something the Electoral Commission and Chief Electoral Officer need to rectify immediately”.

2017 marks the 150 year anniversary of the Maori electorate seats, when four seats were initially introduced to New Zealand’s electoral system with the Maori Representation Act 1867. This occurred early in New Zealand electoral system history, only fourteen years after the first Settler Parliament elections held in 1853 and the passing of the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852. Yet, despite this 150 year history and the seats being the focus of much debate and change over this time, including the introduction of the Maori Electoral Option in 1993 and the ability of the number of seats to increase or decrease according to the Maori Electoral Roll, there is little knowledge of the Maori electoral seats, their history or significance amongst wider New Zealand.

“Many New Zealanders unfortunately have little to no knowledge of the Maori seats, something we need to remedy with future citizenship education, but that Electoral Commission staff are themselves ignorant of the basic make-up of our electoral system in an election year when they are responsible for assisting electors is unthinkable” states Ms Tawhai, “and that complaints made to the Electoral Commission by many people, including myself, to rectify the situation are being outright ignored is just outrageous”.

Some of the complaints received about Electoral Commission staff, including those manning polling booths and phone lines, includes:
• Staff being unaware of the Maori roll and insisting electors are unregistered when their names don’t appear on the General roll;
• Staff having difficulty locating Maori names on the Maori roll, even when given identification by Maori electors;
• Staff giving incorrect information about the Maori electorates, electorate areas and where electors can be enrolled;
• Maori enrolled in Maori electorates being given the wrong voting form and having to argue with staff to find and be provided with the correct form;
• Electors on the General roll being told they are unable to vote for a ‘Maori party’ if they are not on the Maori roll;
• Complaints from Maori electors being ignored by those responsible for hearing complaints, such as managers of polling booths.

“In the absolute minimum, anyone with responsibilities within the Electoral Commission should have an understanding of our electoral system in order to ensure they are able to fulfil their roles in assisting all New Zealanders, including Maori, to exercise our vote as is our basic democratic right whether we be on the General or Maori roll. I demand that there be:

(a) A Maori electorate specialist appointed to each polling booth throughout the country immediately, to ensure full and accurate information is being given to electors this election;
(b) A review of the background knowledge and understanding of all Electoral Commission staff undertaken, and steps made to ensure they are properly informed and prepared to undertake the job required of them now and for future elections, and;
(c) Electoral and citizenship education tailored to the needs of Aotearoa New Zealand given priority by Government to ensure the proper exercise and fulfilment of democratic rights by all New Zealanders into the future”

concludes Ms Tawhai.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Democracy 2.0: NextElection Partners With Scoop For Exciting Democracy Tech

NextElection, a technology platform empowering democracy and Government accountability, and Scoop Independent News have partnered to strengthen citizen participation in the 2020 New Zealand General Election, set for September 19th.

Scoop’s ambition for bringing NextElection to NZ is to use it to strengthen and expand Scoop Citizen activities under the auspices of the Scoop Foundation for Public Interest Journalism.

The nextelection.nz platform has been populated by the project team with channels for all the 2020 General Election candidates and political parties. It also features up to date geolocation data based on the latest electoral boundaries. More>> Joint Press Release: NextElection, Scoop.co.nz, ScoopCitizen





       
       

      Travel: Update On New Zealand And The Cook Islands Bubble

      The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Henry Puna have welcomed the completion of phase one in the establishment of a travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Island. More>>

      Election 2020: Labour Launch

      E ngā mana e ngā reo Ngāti whātua ngā mana whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau, e tika te kōrero Ehara taku toa he toa (taki tahi) he toa (taki tini) No rēira tātou e huihui mai nei, ka ‘Hoake tonu tātou’ Thank you for that welcome. And thank ... More>>

      Gordon Campbell: On Political Twins, And On Labour Extending Its Wage Subsidy Scheme

      A quick quiz for the weekend. Which political party currently represented in Parliament issued a press release yesterday that contained these stirring passages: “[We have] long supported a free trade and free movement area between Canada, Australia, New ... More>>

      ALSO:

      Parliament Adjourns: Adjournment Debate: Speaker Trevor Mallard

      The 52 Parliament has sat for the last time before the September Election. It sat for 245 days... More>>

      ALSO:

      E-Cigarettes: Vaping Legislation Passes

      Landmark legislation passed today puts New Zealand on track to saving thousands of lives and having a smokefree generation sooner rather than later, Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa says. The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) ... More>>

      ALSO:


      National: $4 Billion Investment To End Wellington’s Congestion Woes

      A National Government will invest another $4 billion in transport infrastructure across Wellington, igniting the economy and delivering the congestion-busting solutions the region has long been crying out for, National Party Leader Judith Collins says. ... More>>

      ALSO:



      Covid-19: Poll On Management Approval

      New Zealanders’ overall trust in the Ministry of Health and Government to manage the COVID-19 pandemic is at 82%, down from 91% during April. Overall distrust that the Ministry and Government will manage it in ways which best protect themselves More>>

      Election 2020: National Releases 2020 Party List

      National’s 2020 Party List is a strong mix of experience coming up through our Caucus, and new and exciting talent joining our team from communities across New Zealand, Party President Peter Goodfellow says. “The National Party is incredibly ... More>>

      Horizon Research Limited: How Judith Collins Stopped The Bleeding

      Horizon Research includes questions on voting from time to time in its surveys – for both forthcoming referenda and general elections. More>>

      Your Vote 2020: Bringing Election Coverage To Viewers Across TVNZ Channels And Platforms

      As New Zealand gets ready to head to the ballot box this September, 1 NEWS is bringing voters comprehensive coverage and analysis of this year’s General Election. TVNZ’s coverage will draw on the depth of experience held across the 1 NEWS team, says Graeme ... More>>

      Economy: 30% Believe Households Worse Off, 298,000 Expect To Lose Jobs

      64% of New Zealanders feel the economic position of their households is the same or better than a year ago – and 30% think it is worse or much worse, while 298,000 think they will lose their jobs in the next 12 months. Households’ perceptions ... More>>

      State Services Commission: Findings Of Investigation Into COVID-19 Active Cases Privacy Breach

      Deputy State Services Commissioner Helene Quilter has today announced the findings of an investigation into a breach of privacy regarding sensitive personal information. The investigation looked into who or what caused the disclosure of the information, ... More>>

      International Security: New Zealand Suspends Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong

      The New Zealand Government has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and made a number of other changes in light of China’s decision to pass a national security law for Hong Kong, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says. More>>

      ALSO:


       
       
       
       
       
       

      LATEST HEADLINES

      • PARLIAMENT
      • POLITICS
      • REGIONAL
       


       

      InfoPages News Channels