August 16, 2022
Names counting against Māori elections
A veteran political consultant says Māori are disconnected from local body elections.
Matt McCarten ran John Tamihere’s Auckland mayoralty campaign in 2019 and was working in the Leo Molloy campaign until the candidate pulled out last week.
He says until the advent of Maori wards there have always been low numbers of Maori candidates and low turn-out.
Many are turned off by the complex nature of the elections, with most candidates standing as independents and voters having to vote for multiple councils, community boards and even licensing trusts.
Most voters tend to be homeowners and property developers and contractors who fund candidates.
“People who vote tend to be homeowners, well-heeled and white and people tend to, in a secret ballot vote which these are, they tend to, when they’ve got a lot of votes, they vote for people like themselves. People who are near the top of the alphabet and have Anglo names tend to be elected. Maori or Pasifika or migrant names, non-Anglo names, tend to be down the bottom,” Mr McCarten says.