Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The Attorney-General has just tabled a report in Parliament declaring that Te Ururoa Flavell's Local Electoral (Māori Representation) Amendment Bill discriminates against non-Māori and so is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act [PDF]. But not because it creates Māori seats on local councils. Instead, the problem is the flaw I'd identified - that it would systematically over-represent Māori and so give greater weight to their votes.

As the Attorney-General notes,

the change proposed appears to be based on the incorrect assumption that the current formula uses the number of registered electors rather than the total population. The MEP [Māori Electoral Population] and GEP [General Electoral Population] are not restricted to those registered to vote, but also take account of those under the age of 18 or otherwise not registered to vote.
He also notes that the resulting disparity in representation is unnecessary. The bill can easily be fixed, and I'd like to see a select committee given the opportunity to do so.