May 10, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Brief Information on the 2011 Voting Referendum: Issues for Maori

2 min read

Brief Information on the 2011 Referendum: Issues for Maori

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.

  • 50% minimum is needed for a candidate to be elected.
  • The number of MPs elected from each party is about the same as a party’s 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)

1 thought on “Brief Information on the 2011 Voting Referendum: Issues for Maori

  1. Interesting, “10 Maori elected to general seats”. that is still a high percentage of those that stood in elections. The problem is not how many have got in, it is with how many are standing in elections. Kaumatua need to start looking for and encouraging young people to get involved in politics, training them and giving guidance. Also if Maori seats did not exist then those people would be elected to general seats therefore there would be more than 10. also candidates need to not be to radical and aim to get some none Maori voters voting for them and this does not happen by constantly telling Pakeha how evil they are when they are not doing anything wrong (it was their ancestors). Also get more Maori voting.

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