Electoral reform boosted Maori representation
Whetu Wereta helped pave way for proportional representation in New Zealand
No matter how British Columbians vote in the province’s current electoral referendum, they could learn much from the Indigenous people of New Zealand.
That’s according to the trail-blazing Maori statistician and political scientist who helped pave the way for mixed-member proportional representation in her country, which has used MMP since 1996.
Whetu Wereta was the only Maori person appointed to that three-member Royal Commission in the 1980s; she has since retired after a career as a senior civil servant.
“Thirty years have passed since the Royal Commission reported,” she told Starmetro. “I have followed the subsequent The Maori party lost all seats in the 2017 election, but Maori representation reached 24 per cent under mixed-member proportional electoral system.
referendums, reforms and their results with a great deal of interest, having been a member of the Commission.
“The number of Maori entering Parliament from the specially designated Maori electorates has been rising slowly … Second, the number
of Maori coming into Parliament, either as electorate or as party list MPS, has been rising steadily.”
New Zealanders have voted with a mixed-member proportional system since 1996, after Wereta’s Royal Commission and two subsequent referenda recommended the
change from first past the post.
(MMP is one of three options voters in B.C. are asked to rank on the current referendum ballot, which must be received by Elections BC by 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 30).
Full story at thestar.com/vancouver