My submission on the Maori electoral option timing

The Government is considering changing our electoral law so that Maori voters can flip between electoral rolls at whim, rather than as part of the boundary setting process.

I consider this a very bad thing to do. My brief submission against is below:

I am submitting in favour of the status quo that the Maori Electoral Option only be run after each census.

Under both the FPP and MMP electoral system, a key cornerstone of electoral integrity was that all electorates should be of similar size, with a 5% tolerance allowed.

The Maori Electoral Option allows the Representation Commission to set boundaries for general and Maori seats on the basis of similar population sizes.

If one allows voters of Maori descent to select one roll for the purpose of setting the boundaries and then change their roll for the general election, you may end up with seats of vastly different electoral populations. This would be repugnant to NZ’s long history of having seats with a similar electoral population. There is no room in New Zealand for “rotten boroughs”

Also a law change to allow people to change their roll outside the boundary setting timetable would lead to those of Maori descent having the ability to transfer rolls before a general election in order to tactically influence an electorate race by going from a safe seat to a more marginal seat. This would result in not all voters being equal, but advantaging voters who are of Maori descent. I have no doubt you will see political parties use any such ability to run campaigns urging people to swap between rolls in order to help those political parties in those seats.

Changing the law will undermine equality of electorates and equality of voters.

Submissions close tomorrow on the review.

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