Working from home in isolation this week I took the chance to catch up on the mail – the real mail, which is mostly bills these days anyway. Within the small stack of thin white envelopes, was a letter reminding me of the change to Te Kōwhiringa Pōti Māori, the Māori Electoral Option.
It feels like this has largely gone under the radar, but it is an important one to be aware of. So, what is it all about?
Prior to March 31, if you were on the Māori Roll for elections and wanted to change to the General Roll, or you were on the General Roll and wanted to change to the Māori Roll, you could only do this during a Māori Electoral Option period, held every five to six years. At the end of last year, legislation was passed to allow voters to change between these rolls whenever they want, except in the three months before a general election; in the three months before a local election; and before a parliamentary by-election if the change would move you into the electorate where the by-election is being held.
The roll you choose decides which electorate you vote in, and it also determines the number of general and Māori electorates.
It is completely up to you which electorate you want to vote in; the important thing is that you do exercise your right to vote, whether that be in a national election or a local body election.
Some of you may have received the letter I did in the mail from the Electoral Commission. If you haven’t and you want to know more, have a look here. If you want to check which roll you are on, click here.
Meanwhile, at Te Whenua Taurikura, work is building as we prepare to open three funds aimed at supporting the wellbeing of our tamariki and rangatahi. Te Kīwai will launch on Wednesday, 26 April, while Ruia and Tama Ora will be open from 1 May. I encourage you to spread the word and let whānau know so they can start thinking about their applications.
Kia pai ō koutou wā whakatā.