May 9, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Brief Information on the 2011 Referendum: Issues for Maori

2 min read

Some points to consider when trying to decide which voting system is best:

  • Will Maori be able to get elected in electorates, other than the Maori seats?
  • What level of influence will Maori issues play in the way decisions get made by government? History tells us that unless Maori have leverage (either in numbers in parliament or holding a balance of power) then it is difficult to get traction on Maori issues.
  • What if the Maori seats are not retained by future governments? Can Maori easily get elected on the general roll? Keep in mind that there have only ever been 10 Maori elected to general seats.
  • Does the proposed voting system provide fair representation for the overall community?
Electoral system Explanation of Features Numbers of Maori electorates


This is the current system

We have two votes:

  • An electorate vote and a party vote

70 Electorate seats

50 Party list seats

– Candidate with the most votes wins the electorate seat.

– 5% minimum party vote needed or one electorate seat for a party to be represented in parliament.

– Political parties share of seats usually equals its share of the party vote.


7 electorates

(depends on number on Maori roll).

(10% of 70 electorate seats)




One vote either:

  • to rank candidates
  • or to vote for a party with its own ranking of candidates

– There are fewer electorates and each electorate is represented by more than one MP.

– To be elected candidates must receive a minimum number of votes (known as the quota, it is a figure derived from the number of voters and seats).

– The number of MPs elected from each party is about the same as a partys share of its votes.


Approx 4 multi-member Maori electorates, with a total of 12 Maori MPs (10% of 120 seats)


Two votes:

  • Electorate vote
  • party/supplementary vote

90 electorate seats (candidate with the most votes wins).

30 party/supplementary list seats

Large parties can usually dominate alone and small parties (including Maori parties) would be less likely to be in government.


9 electorates

(10% of 90 electorate seats)




One vote

  • For an electorate representative

The candidate with the most votes wins the electorate. The party with the most winning seats becomes the government.

- Larger parties usually have more seats than their share of vote.


12 electorates

(10% of 120 seats)





One vote

  • For an electorate candidate that voters rank in order of preference.

50% minimum needed for a candidate to get elected.

Hard for smaller parties to get elected.


12 electorates

(10% of 120 seats)

Compiled by Dr Maria Bargh: [email protected] .
For more information see:

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