Mass migration to general roll puts Māori seats at risk

By Bronson Perich

More than 10,000 Māori switched their voting registration to the general roll ahead of the election, and a political scientist says no one knows why.

Dr Lara Greaves says no research has been conducted to find the cause.

Her research has revealed another issue: 30% of Māori between 13-17 years of age don't even know the difference between the two options.

“It’s quite concerning that people don’t know that,” Dr Greaves says.

“I think a lot of adults wouldn’t know the difference either.”

Dr Lara Greaves talks politics - Photo / File

The political scientist believes teaching civics in schools will help but it won’t solve the issue by itself.

But she has some suggestions on what can help. Teaching New Zealand history, using social media and giving prisoners the right to vote are in her opinion, useful steps.

“Having prisoners being able to vote … is a really good step,” she says.

“When you’re in prison, there’s really not exactly a lot to do. You’re going to actually spend that time learning who you’re going to vote for, perhaps learning more about the system and going and voting on the day.”

Making voting a habit, she says, increases the likelihood that a person will do so.

Greaves notes that the reduction in Māori roll numbers could make it difficult for the Māori Party to make a successful comeback.