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'Maori early voting skyrockets - tight contests in East Coast, Northland and Waiariki'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The New Zealand Maori Council has released data on current Maori voting trends across key electorates having had data released to it by the New Zealand Electoral Commission. The Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council, Matthew Tukaki, laid an official complaint with the Commission after reports that some Maori voters had been turned away from polling booths because of ID and the absence of Maori Electorate voting papers in some booths:

"The data is telling us that Maori are turning out in droves to vote - and actually the figures around Maori early voting trends is outstripping 2017 figures. According to data released to the Council from the Electoral Commission At this point, the number of those enrolled of Māori descent has increased by 38,049 (8.1%) since May (in comparison to 5.7% for those of non-Māori descent), the overall number enrolled is 506,847." Tukaki said

"After ten days of voting, we have seen more than double the turnout in the Māori electorates in comparison to the same time in 2017 -61,998 compared to 25,603. The Commission have told me that we are seeing large increases in turnout in East Coast, Rotorua, and Northland-electorates with large proportions of Māori electors."

"In East Coast this tells me there could be a real contest on our hands between Labour’s Kiri Allen and Nationals Tanya Tapsell. Its currently a notional National seat previously held by Anne Tolley but because there is no incumbent it does make a difference and could favour Kiri Allen. In Rotorua across some booths we are also seeing increases in early voter turnout and we know the seat of Waiariki is being hotly contested between Labour’s Tamati Coffey, Maori Party’s Rawiri Waititi and Vision New Zealand’s Hannah Tamaki - and the numbers of Maori turning out in early voting is huge. For example at Rotorua Central Mall, Shop 3, 1170 Amohau Street, Rotorua has taken 3973. The number of votes issued at the same point in 2017 was 2,920." Tukaki said

"Then there is the seat of Northland with a three way run off between National, New Zealand First and Labour - with high turnouts expected amongst Maori voters its whether or not Shane Jones can make it across the line, get second or come third." Tukaki said

"The seat of Tamaki being contested by Marama Davidson of the Greens, Maori Party’s John Tamihere and Labour’s Peeni Henare is close but not as close as people think our assessment showing Peeni Henare is making a late charge in the candidate stakes." Tukaki said

"Whatever happens there are still issues with the Maori Electoral Option rules and regulations and more needs to be done post the election on that front and I can tell you now given the growth in the Maori population voting base and the rolls I will be calling for a new electorate - a new Maori electorate in addition to the current ones." Tukaki said

Tukaki also said he would be meeting with the Commission in the coming weeks and would also provide a report to the Justice Committee of the Parliament.

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