Newshub Nation: Retired indigenous studies lecturer Rawiri Taonui predicts 'a younger generation of capable Māori politicians'

The half-million voters with Māori whakapapa have until July 13 to decide whether they want to vote on the general electoral roll or the Māori electoral roll in October.

In the long term, their choices will determine the number of Māori electorates and the number of Māori seats in Parliament. 

While Te Pāti Māori has called for all Māori to be on the Māori roll, plenty of others say the general roll serves their needs better.

So how do voters make a good decision?

Newshub Nation's Simon Shepherd sat down with retired indigenous studies lecturer Rawiri Taonui to break down the choice. 

Dr Taonui said it's common to see Māori voters split on which roll they should cast their vote in.

"You have some voters thinking about kaupapa Māori, looking at their broader place culturally and politically, and so they go to the Māori roll."

However, Dr Taonui said more recently, "we are seeing people who are thinking about their local contexts, like their connection to their local MP and community".

Dr Taonui connects this to the rise of Māori in local body politics. 

He emphasised if "you have whakapapa and you have a vote, then what you do is your own choice, and I think people accept that".

Since the law change in March, allowing Māori to change between roles at any point until three months before an election, 11,835 people have changed roll types - 6389 from the general roll to the Māori roll and 5446 from the Māori roll to the general roll.

There have been 1360 new enrolments on the Māori roll and 727 new enrolments on the general roll, according to the Electoral Commission.

The number of people enrolled on the Māori roll is directly proportional to the number of Māori seats, meaning the number of Māori electorates could increase, decrease or stay the same in future elections depending on how many enrol this year. 

Dr Taonui predicts "we will see a younger generation of capable Māori politicians" as the Māori roll grows.

Watch the full video for more. 

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