The Maori Party is blaming the Electoral Commission for no increase in the number of Maori seats.
The Maori Party is disappointed at this week’s announcement from the Representation Commission, that no new Maori electorate will be created following the census and the Maori Option.
“Proper investment by electoral agencies in promoting Maori engagement with Parliamentary politics could have convinced another 4% of electors to join the Maori Roll, and secured an eighth Maori seat,” said Co-leaders Tariana Turia and Te Ururoa Flavell.
“The Electoral Commission’s campaign did not do enough to ensure that people were fully informed of the difference between the two rolls. The feedback we received from rangatahi is that the information provided from the Electoral Commission left them feeling that they had more choices on the general roll.”
“The Electoral Commission spent around $1.5million on the Maori Option Campaign, but measured their success based on the number of times their advertisements were viewed, not on results or ensuring that the message received by whanau were transformed into action – the action of filling in the forms and sending them back in.” . . .
It’s the Commission’s job to ensure people are informed of their options and to present the facts not to influence them one way or the other.
People are better on the general roll – most seats are smaller geographically making it easier for MPs to service and for constituents to access MPs and electorate offices.
. . . “The Maori Party will be making submissions on new boundaries for the current Maori seats – we think it is quite unrealistic for the whole of the South Island and part of the North Island to be represented by one MP, for example. The lack of access to Maori electorate MPs is a valid reason for Maori electors to opt onto the General roll – which reduces the number of Maori seats. The whole system works to disenfranchise the Treaty partner in Parliamentary politics.”
Te Tai Tonga is too big and poorer access will influence decisions on which roll to go on.
But that problem isn’t confined to Maori electorates. Some general seats are bigger than some Maori ones.
We’d all be better off if there were no Maori seats because more general seats would make all electorates smaller.
No increase in Maori seats is a good sign that people are recognising that, as Tariana Turia said, Maori seats don’t give Maori a voice.
It might also reflect that more Treaty settlements have been concluded and more Maori are moving from grievance mode to growth.