URGENT hui at Kokiri Marae 29 July 2015

30 July 2015

The Chairman and Board Members of
Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou
Kaiti, Gisborne

 

Tena koutou katoa,

Our Ngati Porou Taurahere ki Poneke whanau has met under urgency to discuss correspondence received from Hiria Shaw on behalf of TRONPnui, regarding the non-acceptance of a driver’s license for personal identification purposes for the upcoming elections.

In the interests of transparency and urgency we have responded with our concerns directly to yourself and the other Ngati Porou Runanganui board members. We are deeply concerned about this latest change as not only does it directly affect whanau we have helped register but Ngati Porou in general whose faith in the election process has been seriously undermined by constant changes being made to the registration process. This latest change is being made less than two weeks away from the closing date for registrations. It is completely unacceptable.

We request:

  • The reinstatement of the driver’s license as valid and acceptable identification for the purposes of registering to vote.
  • An urgent meeting with the TRONPnui Board.

For seven years the on-line registration has been a satisfactory process for the Runanga, and then the Runanganui (and did not require any changes for the previous election). But with the 2015 election approaching and strong challenges being mounted, the Runanganui has suddenly found it necessary to impose changes that are neither urgent nor essential.

The fact that rules can be chopped and changed to suit with no communication or explanation less than two weeks out from closure of registration demonstrates a disregard for the people the Board says it represents and confirms the many flaws in the registration and voting system.

There is a real and growing belief that this latest change – at least the 4th in 3 months – is an attempt to prevent people from participating in the elections. As a consequence the taurahere wants these issues resolved as quickly as possible. 

We request: Reinstatement of the Driver’s License as a valid and acceptable form of ID for the purposes of registering to vote. Registration to vote should not be confused with eligibility as an iwi beneficiary. To gain an education scholarship for example, is not automatic. Applicants would be required to provide additional information and meet further criteria. To be eligible to vote however, one only needs to be Ngati Porou and over 18 years old.

The Ngati Porou Database Declaration Form, received June 2015, clearly states the driver’s license can be used to confirm identity. If this was an error (and we don’t believe it was) then it is the responsibility of the Runanganui. Ngati Porou should not be penalised for this administrative ‘mistake’.

We note that the Runanganui has acknowledged that NZTA issues a driver’s license based on a birth certificate and/or passport. That being the case, the driver’s license has already been subjected to the scrutiny required having been issued based on a birth certificate or passport. This makes the driver’s license an even stronger contender for proof of identification.

Finally, the taurahere is concerned that a birth certificate or passport may contain highly personal information the applicant may not want shared. And, serious concerns were expressed about the Runanganui’s ability to maintain the security and privacy of this information.

We request: An urgent meeting in Wellington with the full Board. We suggest Wednesday, 5 August, 6pm or Thursday 6 August, 6pm at Kokiri Marae, Seaview.

We are keen to resolve these issues urgently and to everyone’s satisfaction and are prepared to take all practical and legal avenues to ensure all Ngati Porou whanau can participate in the 2015 elections.

Please respond to this letter (via email) no later than Monday, 3 August, 5pm.

  

Naaku noa, na
Sir Tamati Muturangi Reedy
Chairman
Te Taurahere o Ngati Porou ki Poneke.