Today, Te Pāti Māori Co-Leader Rawiri Waititi’s Private Member’s Bill was drawn from the Members Ballot. His Bill, called the Electoral (Right to Switch Rolls Freely) Amendment Bill, will allow Māori voters to switch between the Māori and non-Māori electoral rolls at any time.
“I am ecstatic! I mean, what are the chances to have one bill from a Party of two being drawn out of 64 others” said Rawiri Waititi.
“This Bill will change the face of politics as we know it in Aotearoa. It will restore the balance of power in the political arena and give Māori a fairer chance at having their collective voices heard”
“There are only two opportunities for Māori to choose electoral rolls; either at the time of initial enrolment OR during the Māori electoral option period, which is only a small four month period every five to six years. It’s ridiculous.”
“Our people deserve to be able to participate equally in our democracy and right now they can’t do that. They are actively being blocked from their right to choose to be on the Māori roll. This Bill will change all of that”
Specifically, the Bill will;
· Allow Māori to change between the Māori and general electoral rolls at any time.
· Change the requirement to redraw electoral boundaries to a set date two years after each general election.
· Set a legislative requirement that if someone stipulates they are Māori when enrolling but doesn’t choose an electoral roll, they are automatically placed on the Māori electoral roll.
Change the name of ‘general electoral district’ to ‘non-Māori electoral district’
“The timing is divine intervention. In time for Matariki, this spells the dawn of a new era for everything Māori. We are here for it and we are ready for it because we have been waiting long enough” says Waititi
“Any Party that is real about participating in a Tiriti-centric Aotearoa and that wants to have any sort of relationship with us moving forward should be taking this piece of legislation seriously. It will be a bottom line for us moving into the next election.”