22 Jul 2014

Tech issues 'important' to young voters

8:13 pm on 22 July 2014

Former Maori Affairs Minister Dover Samuels believes the Kim Dotcom-backed political party - Internet-Mana - could encourage first-time rangatahi Maori voters to sign up for this year's general election.

Dover Samuels.

Dover Samuels. Photo: Parliament

Dover Samuels' suggestion has been prompted by some Maori language advocates who're hoping the promotion of te reo Maori by politicians would encourage new voters.

Rahui Papa, the executive chair of Waikato-Tainui Te Arataura, and Robert Pouwhare, a senior lecturer at Auckland University of Technology, hope the more the language is talked about by politicians, the more likely it is that people will enrol to go to the polls.

However, former Labour MP Dover Samuels said that was unlikely to be the case.

He said there had been a lot of resources devoted to encouraging tangata whenua to become voters to go on the Maori electoral roll.

But he said research showed that nearly 50 percent of them, who are well-informed, opt off and go to the general roll.

Mr Samuels said political parties that promote technology were more likely to get new voters to the polling booth, which many rangatahi were interested in.