October 18, 2022
Māori turnout lift long term project
The chair of Local Government New Zealand’s Te Maruata Māori collective says it may take a number of elections to raise Māori participation rates.
Bonita Bigham, who was elected unopposed to the new Maori constituency on Taranaki Regional Council, says the creation of Maori wards makes it easier to measure how people on the Maori electoral roll actually vote.
She says Maori disengagement from a system that has not looked after them for generations can’t be turned around quickly.
“The focus before the election was always about getting our candidates there, getting the Maori wards through councils and things like that. We achieved exceedingly well in that kaupapa and I am really proud of our people for that. This is just the start of the journey. It’s about engaging our people in a different way and that might taker more than one election cycle, it might take two or three more election cycles and engaging our rangatahi as they are coming through,” Ms Bigham says.
Te Maruata is now focusing on supporting the new councillors so they can be effective for their communities.