by Holly Walker
The Māori Electoral Option is the opportunity for those of Māori descent to choose which type of electoral roll to be on for voting in the next two General Elections – the Māori roll or the General roll.
This chance doesn’t come around very often – the Option is only held after a Census, so this year is the first opportunity since 2006. It opens on Monday 25th March.
If you indicated you are of Māori descent when you enrolled to vote, the Electoral Commission should be sending you an ‘Option pack’ in the mail, to give you all of the information you need to make your choice. If you haven’t received a pack, or would like more information, have a look at their website or call 0800 36 76 56. The Option is open until Wednesday 24 July.
There is also a series of videos from the Electoral Commission to help explain the process and answer some questions.
The Māori roll plays an important part in determining how many Māori electorates there are. Since 1993, the number of Māori electorates has incrementally increased from four to seven, because of more Māori registering on the Māori roll when the Option comes up.
Māori representation is also part of the current constitutional review, so everyone in New Zealand has the chance to feed-in to the conversation about the future of areas relating to Māori representation, as well as the role of the Treaty of Waitangi in our constitution and electoral matters, such as the size of Parliament.