Electoral system of New Zealand
New Zealand has a single-house legislature, the House of Representatives, with 120 members. A number of seats in Parliament are reserved exclusively for Māori. The term of the New Zealand Parliament is set at three years. The last referendum on the term of parliament was in 1990 and found nearly 70% of the voters were opposed to extending the term.
About Electoral system of New Zealand in brief
New Zealand has a single-house legislature, the House of Representatives, with 120 members. The 52nd Parliament, elected in 2017, has 120 seats: 71 were filled by electorate MPs, with the remaining 49 from ranked party lists. The term of the New Zealand Parliament is set at three years. The last referendum on the term of parliament was in 1990 and found nearly 70% of the voters were opposed to extending the term. A unique feature of New Zealand’s electoral system is that a number of seats in Parliament are reserved exclusively for Māori. In contemporary New Zealand, generally all permanent residents and citizens over 18 are eligible to vote. The main exceptions are when a person has been living overseas continuously for too long, has been detained in a psychiatric hospital for more than three years after being charged with a criminal offence, or since 2010, is currently a sentenced prisoner. Both Prime Minister John Key and Opposition leader David Shearer expressed support for an extension of the parliamentary term to four years. In 2013 the Government established an advisory panel to conduct a review of constitutional issues. Other issues discussed at public meetings held by the panel were the number of MPs New Zealand should have, whether a written constitution is needed, and whether all legislation should be consistent with the Bill of Rights Act. In the early colonial era, Makaori could not vote in elections unless they owned land as individuals. European colonists were quite happy with this state of affairs because, according to NZ History online, they did not think Māory were yet ‘civilised’ enough to exercise such an important responsibility.
The four electorates at the time were a very minor concession; the four seats at the time were on a per capita basis, on a time basis. This continued until 1975 when full-blooded Mori men over the age of 21 were given the right to vote for Parliament and to stand for election for the first time. After much debate in the Maori Parliament, the Representation Act, 1867, passed into law to bring into the Parliament four electorate seats solely for Makere. This was a compromise between the European settlers and the Makaere. At the time, Māore were dealing directly with the Crown in regard to the Treaty of Waitangi and had little interest in the ‘pākehā parliament’ The last election was held on 17 October 2020, and the last election will be held on November 26, 2020. The public discussion about dual voting system continued about whether they voted in European electorates or Makaare electorates until 1975. This time, there was a debate about whether Māoris should have got up to 16 seats and only 16 with mixed parentage were allowed to choose. This debate continued for a time until there was no longer a need for dual voting. The New Zealand Constitution Act of 1852 established the right of the public to vote in the election of the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House. In 1852, elections were held every five years, but this was reduced to three years in 1879.