Maori get chance to switch voting roll

By Lawrence Gullery

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A major campaign is about to kick off giving those of Maori descent an opportunity to choose which electoral roll they want to be registered on.

Registrar of electors Janice Robson, who represents the Tukituki and Napier electorates, made a presentation to the Hastings District Council's Maori Committee recently to explain the Electoral Commission's "Maori Option" campaign in 2013.

"The Maori Option is open every six years but this time it's been delayed a year because of the Christchurch earthquake," Mrs Robson said.

"It gives people a chance to review whether they want to be on the Maori roll or the general roll."

She said the commission had a limited number of te reo Maori presenters to work on the campaign.

"We would appreciate any help you could provide in getting the message out there," she said to the committee.

People will be sent an electoral pack which offer them the option of being on either the general or the Maori roll.

The option to change will be open from March 25 to July 24, 2013.

Once people decide on an option, they have to remain on that particular roll for the next two general elections.

Voters who choose the Maori option would only be eligible to vote in Maori electorates.

Hawke's Bay is in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate which covers the East Cape, East Coast, Hawke's Bay, Tararua, Wairarapa down to Wainuiomata near Wellington.

The MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti is the Labour Party's Parekura Horomia.

The results of the Maori Electoral Option, together with the Census data also being collected next year, will be used to determine the number of Maori and general electorates in Parliament and to revise electorate boundaries.

The option was previously held in 2006 when 1884 people on the general roll moved over to the Maori roll in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate.

There were also 840 people who switched from the Maori roll, from the same electorate, to the general roll.

There were 1291 new Maori descent enrolments recorded during the 2006 option.

The official launch of the latest Maori Option will be held in January next year with messages across all media forums promoting the opportunity to change electoral rolls.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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