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Ed Sheeran

Voter apathy means Maori voice silent

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A successful Maori local body candidate says Maori should look to the Pacific Island community to see what can happen when people get out to vote.

Relying on name recognition and without campaigning, Waipareira chief executive John Tamihere won a place on the Waitakere Licensing Trust but failed to win the North Shore votes needed to secure a seat on the Waitemata District Health Board.

He says across the country the low-turnout election was bad news for Maori, with high profile candidates in areas with high Maori populations failing to inspire enough of their fellow Maori to post in their voting forms.

"Our own people are not seeing the benefit of their own votes, whereas if you compare that with the electorates that have strong Pacific Island populations in Mangere, Otara, East Tamaki, 15,000 of them get out and vote and they return Alfred Filipaina, they return Arthur Anae, and they return their own people so unless our people get the message, get out, stand up and vote, they get what they get," he says.

Mr Tamihere intends to use his time on the licensing trust to work from the inside to reduce the harm gambling and alcohol does in west Auckland.

Copyright © 2013, UMA Broadcasting Ltd

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