People will have seen that last week Tariana Turia rather ungraciously blamed the failure to get an 8th Maori seat on Immigration.
Now apart from the fact we need immigration to replace our own citizens leaving for overseas, Turia is also wrong on the facts.
You see the number of immigrants in NZ does not affect how many Maori seats there will be – only the number of immigrants in the South Island. Because it is the South Island general electoral population which is used to calculate the number of seats in the North Island and Maori seats.
Around 83% of immigrants live in the North Island. A mere 17% settle south.
From 2001 to 2005 there were 430,000 new residents. Just 75,205 settled in the South Island. But 60,653 South Islanders left for overseas so net migration only added 15,000 people to the South Island electoral population.
Now in 2001 the SI general electoral population was 868,289, and divided by 16 seats is a quota of 54,268. The Maori electoral population was 371,765 and divided by the quota gives 6.85 seats – rounded to seven.
In 2005 SI general electoral population was 920,747, and divided by 16 seats is a quota of 57,547. The Maori electoral population was 416,700 and divided by the quota gives 7.25 seats – also rounded to seven. So first thing to note is the number of seats sort of did increase from 6.85 to 7.25 – but rounding meant no physical increase.
Now what if we take 15,000 net migration away from the SI population. That is around 915,000 SI electoral population which is a quota of 56,563. The Maori EP divided by this is 416,700/56,563 which is 7.37.
Hence even if there had been no net migration into the South Island, Maori would not have gained an eighth seat. Turia is wrong with her blame.