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LINDSAY MITCHELL: Does the Māori Party really speak for all Māori?

Over the past week New Zealand has seen the Māori Party forcefully assert that it is the true and authentic voice of Māori, and other parties equally strongly assert the Māori Party does not own Māori. Neither faction has provided factual evidence for their position although Shane Jones moved in that direction with an off–the-cuff remark about voting trends that was more anecdotal than objective.


Can voting in the 2023 election answer the question of who is the true and authentic voice of Māori? Beware the famous quote 'Most people use statistics like a drunk man uses a lamppost; more for support than illumination.'


The Māori Party will doubtless claim that winning 6 of the 7 Māori electorates makes them the authentic voice.


But everyone knows not all Māori choose to vote in Māori electorates so winning them isn’t a reliable guide to the views of all Māori voters. We also know many Māori voters, for strategic reasons, give their candidate vote to one party and their party vote to another. For these reasons the size of the party vote is a more important guide to who voters’ views align best with.


If one looks for illumination, the party vote in the Māori electorate tells a strikingly different story to the one the Māori Party promotes. In each of the Māori electorates the Māori Party failed to secure a majority of the party votes cast, ranging between 23% and 38%. By contrast, the Labour Party fared much better, even with its dismal overall showing, ranging from 37% to 56%. The Māori Party did not receive more party votes than Labour in a single Māori electorate.





What about the Māori Party’s performance in the general electorates? Before looking at the results it’s helpful to have an indication of how many Māori choose to enrol and vote in them:


•    Statistics New Zealand estimated in June 2023 the number of Māori aged 18 and over was 583,600.


•    At 1 October 2023, 515,597 Māori had enrolled to vote with 49 percent (253,232) on the general roll.


•    262,365 had enrolled on the Māori roll. (By 23 November 2023, the number had increased to 291,564.)


•   In the Māori electorates the Māori Party recieved 58,237 party votes.


Support for the Māori Party in the general electorates is much lower. It only received 29,607 party votes across 65 general electorates. We don’t know how many of these votes were from Māori, but Shane Jones suggested at least some of them were from “hippies” so support for the Māori Party amongst enrolled Māori in general electorates can be no more than 11.7% and is probably less.


In conclusion then voting statistics clearly show that of enrolled Māori (who may or may not have voted) no more than around 17% gave their party vote to the Māori Party. The share amongst those who actually voted will be slightly bigger, but people who don’t bother to vote clearly don’t want to express a preference for any party.


The Māori Party’s claim to speak for all Māori is pure rhetoric. They do not own Māori.



Voting statistics are drawn from https://electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2023/statistics/index.html accessed 10 December 2023


Statisics New Zealand’s Māori population estimate is drawn from https://infoshare.stats.govt.nz (Maori Ethnic Group Estimated Resident Population by Age and Sex (1991+) (Annual-Jun)) Accessed 9 December 2023

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104 Comments


I know a Maori who voted for the National Party so they don't speak for her.

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An aside: Maiden Speeches in Parliament


If James Meager's maiden speech was sublime, this one was ridiculous. An arguable farce in the House. Time wasting of a costly and precious public resource. I am referring to the Maori Party’s Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke. She sang loudly at length, hand waving and swaying from side to side, seeking attention and accompaniment by her MP supporters. As though she was in a theatre. Although at first, I thought it was more in keeping with Kapa Haka.


As seen and heard on Sean Plunket’s Platform.

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Henry Hobson
Henry Hobson
Dec 12, 2023

No party can claim to be ownership of any particular group. As was rightly said the Maori Party cannot claim to speak for all Maoris. They have a right to say what they want to say.

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tom.gollop
tom.gollop
Dec 12, 2023
Replying to

And they did speak for all maori according to them [ in parliament }, not only should they have been removed immediately for total disrespect for the system that has got them into parliament . They should have been evicted immediately for not taking the oath that has put them into a paid for by taxpayers money , Not from maori alone 3% of the population ???? That voted for them, They are a rabble of mindless clowns who would not even get a job in a circus ???

They have abused that system but have made such fools of themselves before the world and now expect all of us non maori to provide their salaries , ??

When wil…

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Why are the media giving so much time to anti coalition actions and words ? This morning on TV3 , some Islander ( a Sir no less ) was featured about his resignation from several advisory roles because of the smoking question and the dropping of the Maori Health Authority . I have no idea who this character is and I could care less : his antics affect no one , especially the general public , yet TV3 gave David Seymour a split second in reply . They also gave way too much attention to the Waitangi Treaty or its recent interpretation by Maori : who at the time of signiong , had no written language , no alphabet …

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Picker N Grin
Picker N Grin
Dec 15, 2023
Replying to

Good riddance

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It begs the question: which party does speak for Māori?

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tom.gollop
tom.gollop
Dec 12, 2023
Replying to

Don't forget Luxon is learning their idea of the maori language, and as a man of 79 who grew up in Tauranga we know real maori how it was spoken by maori who were when we were kids were probably born about the same time as my grandfather , about the 1880's or 90's not so long after the signings. .

Their knowledge and descriptions of life and living especially those that I worked with in the bush with my step father, they taught me about survival in the bush .

One particular old man was Tommy Brown from the Wairoa Pa who was old and still working when I was only 13 , I think he was in h…

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