Tuesday, 26 August 2008

A Woman's Place: The Maori Party's Candidates

As the youngest party currently in our Parliament, the Maori Party is easiest to work out the figures for, because I can actually remember all their MPs, ever, as opposed to having to crib from Wikipedia. As they have done all their selections, and as I have time right now to look at them, this post will examine their electorate choices as well as their party list.

Historical representation of women:
The Maori Party has had four MPs so far in its history, and one of them (co-leader Tariana Turia) has been a woman, making 25% representation for women. The historic events that surrounded Turia's resignation as a Labour MP, the by-election which re-elected her to the House, and the two hikoi rejecting the Foreshore and Seabed legislation gave the Maori Party it's start, and all this has interwoven Turia's political existence with that of her party. There is no denying that she remains a pivotal figure within both the Maori Party and broader Maori politics.

Current representation of women:
As above really, due to the youth of the party. It's worth noting that other co-leader Pita Sharples seems to take on more of the media role with Pakeha media, but I think that's more due to his portrayal as more acceptable to the "mainstream" than Turia, rather than a gender thing. (Although just why he is more acceptable could be open to significant gender analysis imho).

2008 Maori Party List:
Women represented across the whole list: 11 out of 19 (55%)

Top 5 - Two (Turia at 1, Angeline Greensill at 5) 2/5 = 40%
Top 10 - Five (As for Top 5 plus at Rahui Reid Katene at 7, Naida Glavish at 8, Iritana Tawhiwhirangi at 9) 5\10 = 50%
Top 19 - Eleven (As for Top 5 plus Te Orohi Paul at 11, Amokura Panoho at 12, Bronwyn Yates at 14, Josie Peita at 15, Mereana Pitman at 17, Georgina Haremate-Crawford at 19) 11/20 = 55%

It would be interesting to know if the Maori Party and the Greens have a similar, deliberate, approach to gender balance, as the figures are so close to a 50:50 balance. Idiot/Savant's analysis of the movements on the Maori Party list can be found here.

Sorry for the lack of links. I find the Maori Party website quite frustrating and there just don't seem to be any candidate profiles up or easy to find. If anyone can point me to them I'll add the links in.

Likely future representation of women:
It's probably more salient to look at the party's selection of women candidates in the Maori seats, as the Maori Party are unlikely to receive any list seats. They are already creating an overhang at the moment, having won 4 Maori seats and less than 4 seats-worth on the list in 2005. So other than the four Maori MPs they already have, have they selected any women in the three seats that Labour still holds?

Yes indeed they have; two out of the three in fact. Katene and Greensill join Derek Fox (Ikaroa-Rawhiti candidate) as follows:
  • Angeline Greensill for Hauraki-Waikato - held by Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia for Labour. My impression is that Horomia is generally considered impossible to defeat, so Greensill's only chance would seem to be for the Maori Party to lift its percentage of the party vote about around 5% to give her a shot at making it in on the list. This presently seems highly unlikely.
  • Rahui Reid Katene for Te Tai Tonga - held by Mahara Okeroa for Labour, several Marae Digipoll's show Katene is preferred. However Marae polls are often based on small samples and as such are not considered particularly reliable.
Turia will be returned, and probably the other three Maori Party MPs will win again, maintaining their current proportion of 25% women. Whether they can pick up any of the other Maori seats this election remains to be seen. It seems to be their only chance of increasing their representation of women.

Other posts in this series to date:
- Act's Party List
- Greens' Party List
- National's Party List


Anna McM said...

I wonder to what extent Tariana Turia herself would be sympathetic to having a gender balance within the party caucus (if/when numbers become large enough for this to be practicable)? I've heard she's a bit of a social conservative. Does anyone know more about this than me?

Hugh said...

I've always thought that 'Tariana Turia is a social conservative' line was a smear to try and steer away sympathetic left wing voters myself.

stargazer said...

um, hauraki-waikato is currently held by hon nanaia mahuta from tainui. currently she's minister of customs and youth affairs (with possibly some more assistant roles). she's a very competent MP and the youngest minister in the labour caucus.

Carol said...

Wasn't Turia a bit "socially conservative" in abstaining on voting for the Civil Union Bill?

Idiot/Savant said...

Hugh: Looked at her voting record recently? Not as bad as Harry Dynhoven's, but not exactly stellar either. Though it would still probably place her on the "liberal" end of the National Party, which is scary...

Carol: she didn't abstain; she voted against.

Hugh said...

Huh, I stand corrected. I guess I won't be voting for the Maori Party after all. (Not that they'd want my vote anyway!)