Māori roll or general roll? Survey wants to know why
20 July 2022
An online survey to find out why eligible voters choose either the Māori Electoral Roll or the General Electoral Roll is hoping to attract at least 2,000 respondents.
Led by New Zealand politics researcher Dr Lara Greaves at the University of Auckland, the brief survey is the first of its kind to focus on this aspect of the voting system.
“That core question of why Māori voters choose to register the way they do in the first place is something no one really knows and we’d like to find out,” she says.
Only New Zealand Māori and their descendants can register for the Māori roll, and if a voter changes their mind once enrolled, they can only change rolls during the ‘Maori Electoral Option’, which is usually held every five years.
“And in local elections, if you’re on the Māori roll and your local authority has a Māori ward or constituency, you have to vote for a candidate in the Māori ward,” says Dr Greaves.
The main survey, which people can complete online in English or te reo Māori, takes about four minutes, with an option to answer supplementary questions and is aimed at everyone eligible over 16.
“We’re not too worried about getting a representative sample in this survey at this stage, we just want diversity,” says Dr Greaves.
“Just chatting to people about their decisions, we think it’s likely there will be a huge variety of reasons people have, alongside some common thoughts.”
The survey also includes a six-question multiple choice quiz where people can test their knowledge about voter enrolment.
“We would like to think this is a fun way to learn a bit more about voting, but it’s also helpful to be able to find out where there are gaps in people’s knowledge about roll choice, gaps that we can pick up on in education work.”
The main goal of the research is to create an online resource that Māori voters can consult when making the choice for themselves.
The survey is being rolled out by a team of young Māori researchers who are all getting valuable experience in the process, says Dr Greaves.
“That’s been one of the best things about the whole project so far.”
It will be open to complete from 20 July to around October 2022 and strongly promoted via social media.
Dr Lara Greaves has recently been appointed to an independent panel that will lead a review of New Zealand’s electoral law over the next 18 months. This survey is a separate project, and does not involve any aspects of electoral law that are within the scope of that review.
Julianne Evans | Media adviser
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