11 Jun 2013

Govt admits new Maori roll voter numbers 'not great'

8:22 pm on 11 June 2013

The Maori Party is questioning whether the Government is doing enough to encourage new voters to join the Maori electoral roll.

In Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, the MP for Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell, asked Justice Minister Judith Collins if she is satisfied with the Electoral Commission's engagement with whanau, hapu, iwi and marae.

He asked her to explain why, halfway through the Maori Electoral Option process, there are only 5000 new enrolments.

Ms Collins replied by saying the uptake by Maori had not been great.

But she said the response to the current campaign was similar to the previous results in 2006, when there were about 6000 new enrolments.

Mr Flavell also asked the Minister how the Government intends to reach the people who are not enrolled to vote.

Ms Collins says she's not prepared to consider compulsory voting.

She says in Australia, where there is compulsory voting, not everyone has their say at the ballot box - the turnout there is 95%.

Ms Collins says the average turnout in New Zealand is 81%.

In the 2011 election the voter turnout was 74.21% - the lowest since 1887.