17,000 voters change roll in Maori electoral option

By Brendan Manning

Photo / The Daily Post
Photo / The Daily Post

More than 17,000 Maori have changed electoral roll types in the 2013 Maori Electoral Option.

The electoral option ran from March 25 to July 24 and gave all enrolled Maori the opportunity to choose whether they wanted to be on the General Electoral Roll or the Maori Electoral Roll for the next two general elections.

Under the option, 17,120 Maori chose to change roll types, and another 9175 new Maori enrolments were recorded.

Enrolment services national manager Murray Wicks said the option usually occurred every five years following the census. However, it had been deferred due to the Canterbury earthquakes.

The last Maori Electoral Option occurred in 2006 and the next is set down for 2018.

"The reason it's done like that is so both exercises are run as close as possible so both data sets are reasonably close together," Mr Wicks said.

The results of the change over, along with information from the 2013 Census of Population and Dwellings will be used by Statistics New Zealand to help determine the number of General and Maori electorates.

"Now that the option has finished we will provide enrolment data to the Government statistician, who will make an announcement on the number of Maori and general electorates on 7 October.

"The Maori Electoral Option is just one of a number of factors that play a part in the number of Maori electorates," Mr Wicks said.

"Other factors include population change since the last census, the number of people included in the census, and how people answered the census questions about Maori descent."

Once the number of electorates has been calculated by the Government Statistician the Representation Commission will be convened to determine the electorate boundaries and the names of the electorates for the 2014 and 2017 general elections in accordance with the requirements of the Electoral Act.

It is anticipated the Representation Commission will release proposed boundaries in late November 2013 for public consultation and issues its final report in April next year.

By the numbers

* 8261 Maori moved to the General Roll

* 8859 Maori moved to the Maori Roll

* 2721 new voters of Maori Descent enrolled in the General Roll

* 6454 new voters of Maori Descent enrolled in the Maori Roll

* 228,718 Maori now on Maori Roll (55 per cent)

* 184,630 Maori now on General Roll (45 per cent)

- APNZ

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