Election 2014

5 Nov 2008

Researcher says Maori overseas hugely disenfranchised

7:59 pm on 5 November 2008

A Victoria University researcher says Maori voters living overseas are massively disenfranchised.

Paul Hamer, a senior associate at the Instate of Policy Studies, says over the past four MMP elections those on the Maori roll have been less likely to vote while overseas.

Mr Hamer says while 27,000 expatriates voted at the last election, only 612 of them were enrolled on the Maori roll.

Mr Hamer says a huge number of Maori live overseas, with at least 110,000 in Australia, but their electoral participation is very low.

He says Maori seats make up 10% of the total number of electorates, but represent only 2% of the overseas votes cast.

Mr Hamer says there is always a lower turnout in Maori electorates, and this reflects a high degree of political apathy.

He says New Zealand should try to engage more with Maori populations overseas, particularly in Australia.

Kapua Smith from Auckland University's political faculty says most Maori who move to Australia probably feel that actions by governments back in New Zealand no longer affect them, but the Maori Party may change that.