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Ed Sheeran

Maori vote shifting could undermine elections

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New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says there are practical obstacles to allowing Maori to switch between electoral rolls at any time.

In its report on the 2017 general election the Electoral Commission has recommended parliament scrap the Maori option that happens after every census and allow switching between the Maori and general rolls whenever they want.

Mr Peters says that could undermine democracy in a similar way to the problems that used to happen in the Cook Islands.

"It's possible to shift two or three electorates just by shifting numbers around and make it four, five electorates and you can move those numbers around a month out from an election and slant the results in the direct constituency vote. If that happens democracy won't be served because it will be like (former Cook Island PM) Albert Henry's fly in voters," he says.

There are still almost three months to go in the current Maori option.

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