Two more Maori MPs

Jami-Lee Ross does his maiden speech today, and I expxect Louisa Wall will be sworn in as an MP next week. What hasn’t been on is that this increases the number of Maori MPs by two (and sadly reduces the Ginga MPs by one). The House now has 21 23 MPs of Maori descent (have updated post to include two more MPs of Maori descent):

  1. National
    Paula Bennett
  2. Simon Bridges
  3. Aaron Gilmore
  4. Tau Henare
  5. Hekia Parata
  6. Paul Quinn
  7. Jami-Lee Ross
  8. Georgina te Heuheu
  9. Kelvin Davis
  10. Darien Fenton
  11. Parekura Horomia
  12. Shane Jones
  13. Moana Mackey
  14. Nanaia Mahuta
  15. Mita Ririnui
  16. Louisa Wall
  17. David Clendon
  18. Metiria Turei
    Maori Party
  19. Te Ururoa Flavell
  20. Rahui Katene
  21. Pita Sharples
  22. Tariana Turia
  23. Hone Harawira

So that is 23/122 MPs are of Maori descent, representing 18.9% of Parliament. Now this means that Maori are over-represented in Parliament, relative to their population proportion. Now I don’t think this is at all a bad thing. My belief is that Parliament should be diverse and broadly representative of NZ, but we shouldn’t have quotas trying to match the makeup of Parliament to the exact population.

But what it does show is how well MMP has worked for Maori representation. We now have seven Maori MPs in Maori seats, three Maori MPs in general seats (all National) and 11 13 Maori List MPs.

It also reflects my view that one could do as the Royal Commission recommended, and abolish the Maori seats (in exchange for no 5% threshold on the list for Maori parties). Even without the Maori seats, there would be at least 16 MPs of Maori descent in Parliament (and probably more).

Currently as I said Maori make up 18.9% of the House. This contrasts with being 15.2% of the total population and 12.0% of the adult (18+) population (which I deem as the appropriate comparison).

If there were no Maori seats, then there would be at least 16/120 Maori MPs which is 13.3% of the House – almost exactly proportional to the adult population.

I’m not an advocate of removing the Maori seats, without significant consent of Maori. It would cause significant disharmony to do so. But it would be good to have a sensible debate about whether the time has come to implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

What I like about the RC’s recommendations is you wouldn’t have the tensions of the Maori Party trying to represent all Maori – something that is impossible. With no threshold (effectively meaning 0.6 0.4%) for Maori based parties instead, it means you may get say three different Maori parties in Parliament – a radical Hone type party might get three MPs, a more right ring urban Maori party might get one MP, and an Iwi based party might get say two MPs. It would allow for better diversity of Maori opinion (in my opinion). Plus you’d have the Maori MPs in National, Labour and Greens.

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