Candidates with Māori names end up at bottom of election results

By Te Ao with MOANA
Māori political strategist Matt McCarten.  Photo/File.

Candidates with Māori names will typically end up at the bottom of local body election results, a Māori political strategist says.

Matt McCarten (Ngāpuhi), who has assisted the Alliance, Labour, New Labour, Mana and Māori parties at various times over his career and is currently the campaign manager for Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere, told Te Ao with Moana that voters will generally vote for people like themselves, and Māori and other minorities will end up being passed over for their vote.

“In an election, in a postal ballot particularly where people don’t know people in big wards, they will vote people who are like them," McCarten says. 

"Pākehā they will vote for other Pākehā. So people who are migrant with migrant names or Māori names or Pasifika names do tend, if you go to any ballot and look down at the results, you’ll find unless they’re a well-known name they’ll be down the bottom. Is it racist? Yes. Is it deliberate? No, it’s not. It’s people just have comfort, you vote for people like you.”