Latest figures from the Electoral Commission show a significant number of Māori are choosing to be on the general roll rather than the Māori roll. The revelation comes at the halfway point of the current Māori electoral option campaign.

Political expert Maria Bargh says there’s another trend that has appeared throughout the campaign.

“The most interesting thing about these results is that younger Māori, or certainly the new enrolments are going straight on to the Māori roll - so there's clearly a demand there for separate Māori representation.”

Despite younger Māori enrolling on the Māori roll, a significant number of Māori are signing up to the general roll.

Bargh says there’s no definite reason as to why Māori voters are moving to the general roll.

“We don't know why people are moving from the Māori roll to the general roll but some people have talked about more choice, and there certainly are more political parties that stand candidates in general electorates, but then again those people aren't representing Māori.”

Another piece of feedback that she's is that it should be easier to change rolls.

“The other reason in terms of people moving could be that they want to be free to swap electoral rolls at any time, and the electoral commission has recommended that Māori be able to swap at any point, and we need the government now to show some leadership and make that change happen.”

The question is: will there be a reduction of the Māori electorates due to the number of people transferring out of the Māori roll?

Bargh has this to say.

“It's far too early to call where this is going I think there's going to be a flood of people making a decision kind of closer to the closing date in August.

“So we really need to wait and see, but more information to explain why Māori representation might be really important I think would be useful.”

The results for the Māori electoral option will be released in three months.

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