Will there be an eighth Maori seat?

The Maori Electoral Option will be underway soon. If you have registered on the electoral roll as being of Maori descent, you can decide whether to enrol on the General Roll or Maori Roll during the option run after each census. Once you do decide, you can’t change until the next option.

The higher the proportion of Maori who decide to enrol on the Maori roll, the more Maori seats there will be. Over the years they have gone from four to seven. It has remained at seven after the 2001 and 2006 censuses.

Some Maori decide to go on the Maori roll to boost the number of seats. Some may decide on the basis of which electorate they wish to vote in. They may prefer to vote in a marginal general seat where their vote can have more impact than say a safe Maori seat.

Research has shown attitudes are very different amongst Maori on the general roll and Maori on the Maori roll. In a very general sense, Maori on the Maori roll tend to identify foremost as Maori while Maori on the general roll tend to be more self-identifying as New Zealanders who happen to have some Maori descent. That far from applies to all, but previous research has shown this. Also the issues of importance vary too. Maori on Maori roll are more likely to cite Treaty issues as important while Maori on the general roll are more likely to cite jobs, economy etc.

Now we won’t know for sure how many Maori seats there will be for the 2014 election until we get both the census results and the Maori option results. Let’s look at what the calculations were in 2006.

First of all the South Island electoral quota is calculated and that was 57,562. The SI general electoral population was 920,999 and you divide it by 16.

The estimated Maori electoral population is divided by the SI quota to calculate the number of seats. It was 417,081 which means the quota for each Maori seat was 59,583. The fact it is higher than the SI quota makes it more likely there will be an eight seat in 2014 if more Maori transfer over.

How many would have to have been in the Maori electoral population in 2006 to get an 8th seat? In 2006 they would have needed 432,000 in the Maori electoral population. That means an extra 3.5% would have been needed or an extra 15,000.

The Maori electoral population is calculated on the basis of the total number of ordinarily resident persons of New Zealand Maori descent as determined by the census multiplied by the proportion of Maori who choose to go on the Maori roll.

from 2001 to 2006 the numbers on the Māori roll increased from 188,487 to reach 244,121. and the numbers of Maori on the general roll increased from 151,931 to 178,139. This means the proportion on the Maori roll increased from 55.4% to 57.8%.

The Maori descent population increased from 671,293 to 721,431 – a 7.5% increase. This means the Maori electoral population was in 2001 671,293 x 55.4% = 371,690 and 2006 721,431 x 57.8% = 417,081.

If the percentage who went on the Maori roll had been 60% instead of 57.8% then there would have been an eight seat.

It is hard to project what will happen this time as it will depend both on the growth rate of the Maori population to the non-Maori population and also how many Maori change their roll. But based on the change from 2001 to 2006, it looks like we could well see an 8th seat in 2014.  The proportion on the Maori roll increased 2.4% last time and they only need 2.2% transfer to get an 8th seat. However that does depend on the overall growth in the Maori population also since 2006.

If there was an iPredict stock on there being an 8th Maori seat I’d buy stock up to around 55c.

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