National | Elections

‘Māori vote will determine the next government’ - Te Arawa Lakes Trust

Source / File

Te Arawa Lakes Trust is urging Māori voters to make this year's general election a "front-of-mind conversation".

The iwi-entity that represents Te Arawa hapū and whānau in relation to its lakes settlement said it was closely monitoring the build-up to the election in October.

“Tangata whenua are politically influential, our whānau, hapū and our iwi are pivotal, and have the power to decide who our next government will be. The Māori vote could and should determine the next New Zealand government,” Te Arawa Lakes trustee Te Ururoa Flavell said Thursday in a release.

Māori voters were in a "pivotal position" to decide the government, he said.

“In kōhanga reo, kura kaupapa, kura ā iwi, schools, sports clubs, rugby, league, netball, the marae, the car ride, tangihanga, hui marae, the supermarket, the doctors – the conversation needs to be an every day topic, and that’s what we are wanting to encourage.”

Te Arawa Lakes trustees said they backed the "strong message" by Flavell, a former MP for Waiariki, Māori Party co-leader and government minister.

“We support Te Ururoa’s strong message to ensure Māori are in the right position to be able to play an influential role in Aotearoa New Zealand’s principal decision-making system,” trust chairperson Geoff Rolleston said.

“We encourage whānau, hapū and iwi to be proactive in encouraging conversations about the Māori power to vote, across all sectors of Māori society. Māori voters have a distinct identity and by asserting their right to participate fully in political decisions, they can shape their lives and communities,” he said.