The death of a young Northland leader who passed away after casting her first vote has prompted a challenge to an electoral rule that disallows votes of those who die.
Mehara Tamaki, 19, who was member of several youth advocacy groups in Te Tai Tokerau and sat on the national executive representative of political party Mana Movement, died unexpectedly last week.
The young woman had cast her vote in the early stages of advanced voting but Electoral Commission rules means if a person votes early and then dies before election day, their vote is not counted.
Mana Movement has said one of its submissions to the Electoral Commission, during and post the elections, will be to challenge the law that disallows votes of those who die before election day as "one vote won't win a campaign. But this law mocks the sanctity of one's personal rights, which should not diminish in her sad death."
On the Facebook page of RockEnrol, a campaign designed to build and activate political power for young people, Ms Tamaki was quoted as saying:
"My greatest struggle right now is watching our people be forced into situations where they have no control, where our people do not have homes or are being kicked out.
"I love watching rangatahi Maori thrive - watching our people, our language, our culture thrive.
"I'm hopeful that one day in Aotearoa everyone has a warm whare and hot kai; that our pepi have a stable foundation where they are able to thrive in the passions they wish to follow.
"I believe it's important for every New Zealander to use their vote and make change with us.
"I will vote for the first time ever this year. I will vote because we have the power to make the change we want to see. We are the generation of change and we control who runs our country."
In today's Northern Advocate Mana Movement leader Hone Harawira encouraged people to vote in Ms Tamaki's honour.
"Mehara got to vote but she left us with a korero that sums up MANA perfectly. We dedicate the next two weeks to the challenge she leaves for us all. Read her words whanau. Feel her love for life, her belief in our power to change the world, and then go out and vote for her, for you, and for our mokopuna," he said.