Abstract This article examines the representation of ethnic groups in mixed electoral systems. Analysing data from all Members of Parliament (MPs) in New Zealand’s Parliament since the introduction of a Mixed Member Proportional electoral system in 1996, we show that, despite increases over time, some ethnic minorities (and especially the Asian population) remain underrepresented, although to varying degrees across political parties. Ethnic minority MPs are also significantly more likely than majority MPs to be elected from a party list, although differences exist among ethnic groups. Finally, women are better represented among ethnic minority MPs than among MPs from the ethnic majority, but they tend, amongst most ethnic groups, to be more likely than men to be list MPs. Proportional Representation (PR) systems are often described as offering a means for minority or marginalised social groups to achieve higher legislative representation than is possible under plurality systems with single-member districts (SMDs). In part, this is because party list systems allow for the nomination of a wider range of candidates via the party list. Further, since party list systems often entail relatively centralised nominating procedures, party leaderships can intervene to ensure the selection on a list of candidates who might not gain nomination at the constituency-level (Gallagher and Marsh, 1988). The international literature has confirmed the positive effect of PR systems in the case of female representation, with PR systems having significantly higher percentages of female legislators than SMD plurality systems (Castles, 1981; Rule, 1981; 1987; Norris, 1985). Evidence is more mixed, however, for ethnic minorities. While party lists could be used to increase representation of ethnic minorities in the way they do for women, some scholars argue that SMDs are in fact particularly effective in achieving representation for ethnic minority groups, especially where they are geographically concentrated within constituency boundaries (Trounstine and Valdini, 2008; Bloemraad and Schönwälder, 2013). These somewhat contradictory findings for different marginalised groups generate questions about the link between electoral systems and the representation of minority groups. Of particular interest is what patterns of representation emerge in mixed electoral systems, with their combination of list-based and geographic-based representation within the same socio-economic context and political culture. While extensive research on female representation suggests that in mixed electoral systems women are more likely to be list, rather than electorate, Members of Parliament (MPs) (Curtin, 2014; Davidson-Schmich, 2014), much less is known about the election of ethnic minorities in such mixed electoral systems. This article, therefore, asks whether ethnic minorities are more likely to be elected as list MPs (based on a PR system) or as electorate MPs (based on an SMD system), compared with those of the ethnic majority. In addition, it investigates which mode of election is likely to be dominant when different minority characteristics intersect, as in the case of female legislators with an ethnic minority background. We answer these questions via analysis of the case of New Zealand (NZ), whose Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system provides for MPs to be elected either via a party list or via an electorate. The mixed electoral system, high levels of indigenous and immigrant-origin ethnic diversity in society and a highly liberal regime regarding newcomers’ political participation make NZ an interesting case in which to assess ethnic minorities’ mode of election and whether variation is evident across ethnic groups and when we take intersectionality with gender into account. Our analysis considers representation differences among ethnic groups, across political parties, and over time. Specifically, we examine change between 1996, the first general election held under MMP, and the 2014 general election. During these two decades, NZ experienced significant immigration and rapid ethnic diversification, with particular growth in the Asian population. This growing ethnic diversity, also observed in other societies, makes it important to better understand patterns of ethnic political representation. If we are concerned with social outcomes, such understanding is even more crucial in light of existing research indicating that descriptive representation of minorities may translate into substantive policy outcomes (Whitby, 1997; Owens, 2005; Preuhs, 2007; Bird, 2011; Wüst, 2011) and increased levels of political participation of minorities (e.g. Pantoja and Segura, 2003; Rocha et al., 2010). Further, understanding how the list (PR) and electorate (SMD) components of mixed electoral systems interact is also important in cases such as NZ where electorate MPs continue to be perceived as having higher status than list MPs (McLeay and Vowles, 2007). 1. Theorising the representation of ethnic minorities As the growing diversity in Western societies has come to be felt in the political arena, the scholarly literature has turned its attention to the political representation of ethnic minorities. Research shows that, while their share in legislatures has increased over the past few decades, ethnic minorities remain significantly underrepresented in most countries (Bird, 2005; Schönwälder, 2012; Black, 2013; Bloemraad and Schönwälder, 2013; Fieldhouse and Sobolewska, 2013; Chowdhry, 2015). Differences in representation between ethnic groups exist, however. The size of an ethnic minority population is an important benchmark for their level of representation, with large ethnic communities generally achieving greater parliamentary representation than small ones (Bird, 2005). In addition, length of settlement matters, highlighting the dynamic aspect of representation. Ethnic minority communities that have been present in substantial numbers for a longer time tend to display higher political representation than more recently arrived communities (Bird, 2005). More broadly, increased representation may occur as each group’s length of settlement increases. Other factors identified as likely to lead to stronger representation of some ethnic groups compared with others include their geographic clustering and extensive social networks (Bird, 2005), as well as ethnic communities’ homogeneity (Saggar and Geddes, 2000). Differences in the representation of ethnic groups are also observable across political parties, reflecting parties’ major role in selecting candidates and thus in shaping the composition of parliament. Overall, ethnic minorities have tended to be better represented among left-wing parties, including Green parties, than in right-wing parties (Geddes, 1995; Kittilson and Tate, 2004; Donovan, 2007; Black, 2008; Wüst, 2011; Hampshire, 2012; Michon, 2012). This is argued to reflect the fact that left-wing parties may pay more attention to issues of inequality, are more likely to pursue minority-friendly policies and be open to immigrants and are consequently more attractive for ethnic minority voters compared with right-wing parties (Bird et al., 2011; Sobolewska, 2013). Research on Germany has also indicated that negative attitudes towards ethnic minority groups mostly decrease right-wing party voters’ likelihood of voting for an ethnic minority candidate (Street 2014). The link between left-wing parties and ethnic minorities also reflects socioeconomic and regional voting patterns, as ethnic minorities are disproportionally located in lower socioeconomic groups and urban areas that have traditionally supported (mainstream) left-wing parties (Hampshire, 2012). While the ethnic minorities usually studied in the literature do tend to have lower socioeconomic status on the whole, we should nonetheless recognise that some ethnic minority groups are characterised by their comparatively wealthy background. Some migration flows from North and East Asia into ‘settler societies’ (Castles and Miller, 2009) such as Canada and NZ exemplify this. Hence, the pattern of higher ethnic minority representation among left-wing parties might not hold if wealthier ethnic minority groups are considered; they may instead be more likely to affiliate with, and be relatively well represented within, right-wing parties. 1.1 The representation of ethnic minorities in MMP systems While ethnic minorities have been underrepresented in most national parliaments, the extent of their underrepresentation differs significantly across countries (e.g. Bird, 2005; Kittilson and Tate, 2009; Ruedin, 2009). Electoral rules, as part of the broader political opportunity structure (Kittilson and Tate 2009), are one important type of explanation offered for this cross-national variation.1 In particular, and while other politically marginalised groups such as women are arguably better represented under PR systems, some scholars have contended that ethnic minorities achieve better representation under SMD electoral systems, notably in electorates where ethnic groups are concentrated (Trounstine and Valdini, 2008; Bloemraad and Schönwälder, 2013). Countries with MMP systems offer interesting cases in which to explore the role of electoral rules as both the SMD component (MPs elected in an electorate) and PR component (MPs elected via a party list) operate in the same national socio-economic context and political culture. The limited evidence available from Germany suggests that parliamentarians with an ethnic-minority background are more frequently nominated and elected as list than as electorate MPs, despite modest trends towards a closing of the gap (da Fonseca, 2011; Wüst, 2014). This contrasts with arguments from SMD cases that emphasise the benefits of SMD systems and suggest an increased likelihood of electing ethnic minorities as electorate MPs, in particular in areas where ethnic minorities are clustered (Saggar and Geddes, 2000; Trounstine and Valdini, 2008). Differences in the mode of election of ethnic minority groups may also occur between political parties, as parties will arguably be more confident in presenting ethnic minorities as candidates in electorates that are both safe for that party and that contain a high concentration of ethnic groups who tend to vote for the party. Consequently, MPs of an ethnic minority that is highly concentrated geographically, and in constituencies with strong support for a particular party, are more likely to be electorate MPs than MPs who do not share these characteristics. 1.2 The intersectionality of gender and ethnic background in MMP systems In contrast to ethnic minorities, more extensive research has been conducted in MMP systems on women, another traditionally underrepresented group. This research shows women are more likely to be elected as list MPs than electorate MPs, both in Germany and NZ (Fortin-Rittberger and Eder, 2013; Curtin, 2014; Davidson-Schmich, 2014; Manow, 2015), thus supporting the finding that women fare better under PR systems than under SMD systems (Rule, 1981, 1987; Norris, 1985). One proposed explanation of the gender difference in representation under MMP is that, when only one candidate can be chosen, as is the case in SMD electorates, party selectorates tend to choose male candidates who are thought to be more likely to win a seat (Curtin, 2014; Davidson-Schmich, 2014). In both Germany and NZ, however, the gender gap has begun to narrow (Fortin-Rittberger and Eder, 2013; Curtin, 2014) as parties have a growing tendency to select women to fill new electorate openings (e.g., when male incumbents retire), which in turn begins to generate incumbency advantages for the growing number of female electorate MPs (Davidson-Schmich, 2014). If list-based (PR) systems tend to benefit women, but SMDs offer some advantages for (concentrated) ethnic minorities (Mügge and Erzeel, 2016), then what should we expect at the intersection of gender and ethnicity, and for ethnic minority women in particular? Given the choice between list and electorate representation available in mixed electoral systems, parties may be more likely to use the list as a vehicle for ensuring representation of female ethnic minorities, groups said to experience ‘double jeopardy’ (Mügge and Erzeel, 2016). Just as for women overall, party selectorates may believe ethnic minority women to be less likely to win an electorate seat than their male counterparts and therefore prefer to place female ethnic minorities on the party list. Hughes (2016) confirms this expectation and suggests that it is particularly in SMDs with a large, concentrated ethnic minority population that selectorates may consider women ‘riskier candidates’ than men, as a conservative or hierarchical minority community may be expected to be less supportive of a female (ethnic minority) candidate. Moreover, including ethnic minority women on a party list, rather than nominating them in an electorate, offers an efficient means of balancing a party’s candidate slate given ethnic minority women’s ‘multiple identity advantage’ (Fraga et al., 2008; Murray, 2016). Ethnic minority women have also been argued to be more likely to be seen as ‘complementary’ to incumbents, who are often white middle-class men (Celis et al., 2014). Overall, this suggests female ethnic minority MPs may be less likely than male ethnic minority MPs to be elected as electorate MPs and thus more likely to enter parliament via party lists. Nonetheless, consistent with the observed narrowing of the gender gap in list versus electorate representation overall (Fortin-Rittberger and Eder, 2013; Curtin, 2014; Davidson-Schmich, 2014), we might also expect this gender gap in the way male and female ethnic minority MPs are elected to close over time. Some research does suggest that ethnic minority women are relatively more successful than ethnic minority men in achieving elected office because they are viewed as less radical than their male counterparts and because they ‘offer the softer face of the emancipation’ of ethnic minorities (see also Bird, 2005; Celis et al., 2014: 49; Murray, 2016). Furthermore, experimental research has shown no significant difference in the likelihood of German voters supporting a male or female ethnic minority candidate (Street, 2014). The representation of male and female ethnic minority MPs may of course also differ between parties. On the one hand, we may expect left parties’ greater focus on equality and equity compared with right-wing parties to be reflected in a higher representation of women and of ethnic minorities. Research has shown that women of colour in the USA and the UK are more likely to be selected as candidates in progressive than in conservative parties (Evans, 2016). On the other hand, however, women may represent a particularly high share of right parties’ ethnic minority representatives, where those parties seek to appear inclusive, while also concentrating ‘otherness’ and creating less disruption to incumbents (Murray, 2016). Given that the findings on the intersectionality of gender and ethnicity in an MMP system and across parties remain inconclusive, the present study on New Zealand offers an opportunity to put the contradictory expectations to an empirical test. 2. The demographic and institutional context of NZ 2.1 Growing ethnic diversity NZ has historically been a country of significant immigration. At the most recent national census in 2013, just over 25% of the population was foreign-born. While early immigration flowed predominantly from the UK, the composition of the immigrant population has changed substantially over time. First, expansion of NZ’s industrial sector in the 1950s and 1960s drove significant labour migration flows from Pacific Island states (Brosnan, 1988). Subsequently, immigrant flows diversified even further from the early 1990s when a new points-based immigration policy, which selected applicants based on their skills, education level or investment contributions, drove a dramatic rise in the number of immigrants from Asia (Burke, 1986). Between 1986 and 2013, immigrants from Asia grew from 6.4% to 31.6% of NZ’s foreign-born population (Statistics New Zealand, 2014b; Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2015). The diversifying immigration flows in turn transformed the ethnic composition of NZ society overall. Whereas in 1986 just 1.7% of the population self-identified as of Asian ethnicity, in 2013, 11.8% did so.2 New Zealanders identifying as of Pacific ethnicity increased from 4% to 7.4% of the population and those identifying as Māori rose slightly from 12.4% to 14.9% over the same period. Conversely, the share of the population identifying as of European origin dropped from over 85% to 74% between 1986 and 2013. In the Auckland region, home to the bulk of NZ’s immigrant diversity, just 59.3% of the population identified as European (Statistics New Zealand, 2014b). Notwithstanding internal variation, the socioeconomic characteristics of the country’s ethnic groups vary markedly. Across non-majority ethnic groups, the proportion of people with a formal qualification is lowest for Māori (66.7%) and Pacific Peoples (70.1%),3 while the Asian ethnic group has the highest proportion of people with a qualification at 88% (Statistics New Zealand, 2014a). While all non-majority ethnic groups have a higher unemployment rate than the 3.9% of NZ Europeans, there is variation among them, with unemployment considerably higher for Māori (11.4%) and Pasifika (9.7%) than for the Asian ethnic group (6.0%) (Statistics New Zealand, 2017). Patterns of partisan support also differ across ethnic groups. For a long time, Māori consistently voted Labour, and the designated Māori electorates were won by Labour. Since the 1990s, after radical social and economic reforms initiated by Labour, Māori voting behaviour became less predictable, and the Māori electorates have shown volatility (Sullivan and Vowles, 1998; Sullivan et al., 2014), especially since the establishment of the Māori Party in 2004. Pacific Peoples have long had close ties with the Labour Party (Iusitini and Crothers, 2013), while the pattern for Asian New Zealanders is much less clear. Historically, strong affiliations existed between the Labour Party and long-established Indian communities from Gujarati and the Punjab (Leckie, 2007), but over time the economic basis of contemporary immigration policy has generated an Asian immigrant population with relatively high socioeconomic status. This makes them—contrary to the West European experience of guestworker and postcolonial migrants—less obvious natural supporters of left-wing parties. 2.2 Mixed member proportional system Similar to MMP in Germany, NZ’s current MMP electoral system, which replaced the First Past the Post (FPP) electoral system in 1996, gives each elector two votes: one for an Electorate MP and one for a Party. Electorate MPs are elected via a plurality system in SMDs, whereas list MPs are elected via closed party lists. The overall distribution of seats in parliament reflects each party’s share of the nationwide party list vote.4 Party groups in parliament comprise all those elected as electorate MPs, plus MPs taken from the party list to bring that party up to its overall seat entitlement in parliament (Miller, 2015). There are currently 71 electorates, with the remaining seats in the 120-member parliament filled from party lists.5 Seven of the seventy-one electorates are dedicated seats for indigenous Māori.6 These seats overlay the General electorates, and candidates of any political party and any race or ethnicity may stand for election in a Māori electorate (Electoral Commission, 2014a). Since 1993, the number of Māori seats has been allowed to vary, depending on how many voters of Māori descent choose to enrol on the Māori roll, rather than the General roll.7 Based on this provision, the number of Māori seats has grown from five in 1996 to the current seven seats. 3. Data To examine the representation of ethnic groups in the NZ Parliament, we created a data set of all MPs elected since the first election under MMP in 1996 until 2014 (seven elections).8 Data were collected along a range of dimensions, including ethnicity, gender, party affiliation, mode of election (as list or as electorate MP) and in which electorate they were elected (where relevant). When we move beyond overall patterns to examine inter-party differences we present data solely on the centre-left Labour Party and the centre-right National Party, the only parties to have both list and electorate MPs in sufficient numbers for analysis.9 We drew on official biographies, party information, MPs’ public statements and news reports to determine MPs’ ethnic background. Where necessary, information was cross-checked with NZ Parliamentary Library data. We follow the main ethnic categories used by Statistics New Zealand in the national census and other official population statistics, which distinguish between the majority ethnic group, European, the indigenous population, Māori10 and Pasifika and Asian ethnic groups.11 Doing this facilitates comparison of MPs with the distribution of ethnic groups in the population. 4. Analyses 4.1 Representation of ethnic groups over time Before moving to a detailed study of the MMP mechanism and the representation of ethnic minorities, we start by showing overall ethnic representation in the NZ Parliament over time. Figure 1 presents the proportion of the various ethnic groups in parliament between 1996 and 2014. Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Percentages of MPs per ethnic group over time Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Percentages of MPs per ethnic group over time Table S1 in the Supplement provides a detailed overview of the proportion and number of ethnic groups in NZ Parliament between 1996 and 2014. As is evident from Figure 1, the proportion of MPs with a European background has decreased steadily over time, from 85% in 1996 to 68.6% in 2014. The indigenous, Māori population is the second best represented ethnic group; its overall representation increased substantially after the introduction of MMP, from 14.2% in 1996 to 20.7% in 2014. As such, they have a higher representation in parliament than in NZ society where, according to the 2013 census, one in seven people (14.9%) self-identified as belonging to the Māori ethnic group. The representation of Pasifika and Asian has also increased over time and reached 6.6% and 4.1%, respectively, after the 2014 election. While the descriptive representation of Pasifika now approaches their proportion in society (7.4%), the representation of Asian people is still well short of their share of the population (11.8%). Following existing arguments in the literature (Bird, 2005), one explanation for the comparatively low representation of the Asian population, especially when considered alongside the representation of Pasifika people, relates to the length of time each ethnic group has been in NZ. As discussed earlier, the majority of the current Asian-born population arrived more recently than the Pacific population—thus, whereas in 2014, 62.4% of immigrants from the Pacific Islands had lived in NZ more than 10 years, the same was true of only 47.4% of Asian-born immigrants. Of further significance for patterns of (political) incorporation, by 2014, 62.3% of all those identifying as of Pacific ethnicity were NZ-born (Statistics New Zealand, 2014b). Beyond length of time in the country, however, the higher political representation of Pasifika may also relate to the particular socio-economic needs of Pacific communities and NZ’s historical ties to the Pacific. Government policy routinely considers ‘Pasifika’ or ‘Pacific Peoples’ as a distinct category in policy development, and a separate Ministry for Pacific Peoples exists. As the population of Pacific origin is given distinctive policy and political attention apart from other migrant-origin groups, it is thus also unsurprising that political parties pay explicit attention to ensuring some representation of this ethnic group. As suggested in the theoretical section, party differences in the representation of various ethnic groups are expected. Therefore, in Table 1, we present the proportion of the different ethnic groups over time for the two major parties: National and Labour.12 Table 1 Percentages and number of MPs per ethnic group over time for Labour and National Labour National European Māori Pasifika Asian European Māori Pasifika Asian N % N % N % N % N % N % N % N % 1996 30 81.08 5 13.51 2 5.41 0 0.00 40 90.91 2 4.55 1 2.27 1 2.27 1999 36 73.47 10 20.41 3 6.12 0 0.00 36 92.31 2 5.13 0 0.00 1 2.56 2002 39 73.58 10 18.87 3 5.66 1 1.87 23 88.46 2 7.69 0 0.00 1 3.85 2005 35 70.00 11 22.00 3 6.00 1 2.00 43 89.58 4 8.33 0 0.00 1 2.08 2008 29 67.44 7 16.28 4 9.30 3 6.98 47 81.03 7 12.07 1 1.72 3 5.17 2011 22 64.71 7 20.59 3 8.82 2 5.88 48 81.36 6 10.17 2 3.39 3 5.08 2014 20 62.50 7 21.88 5 15.63 0 0.00 45 75.00 9 15.00 2 3.33 4 6.67 Labour National European Māori Pasifika Asian European Māori Pasifika Asian N % N % N % N % N % N % N % N % 1996 30 81.08 5 13.51 2 5.41 0 0.00 40 90.91 2 4.55 1 2.27 1 2.27 1999 36 73.47 10 20.41 3 6.12 0 0.00 36 92.31 2 5.13 0 0.00 1 2.56 2002 39 73.58 10 18.87 3 5.66 1 1.87 23 88.46 2 7.69 0 0.00 1 3.85 2005 35 70.00 11 22.00 3 6.00 1 2.00 43 89.58 4 8.33 0 0.00 1 2.08 2008 29 67.44 7 16.28 4 9.30 3 6.98 47 81.03 7 12.07 1 1.72 3 5.17 2011 22 64.71 7 20.59 3 8.82 2 5.88 48 81.36 6 10.17 2 3.39 3 5.08 2014 20 62.50 7 21.88 5 15.63 0 0.00 45 75.00 9 15.00 2 3.33 4 6.67 Table 1 Percentages and number of MPs per ethnic group over time for Labour and National Labour National European Māori Pasifika Asian European Māori Pasifika Asian N % N % N % N % N % N % N % N % 1996 30 81.08 5 13.51 2 5.41 0 0.00 40 90.91 2 4.55 1 2.27 1 2.27 1999 36 73.47 10 20.41 3 6.12 0 0.00 36 92.31 2 5.13 0 0.00 1 2.56 2002 39 73.58 10 18.87 3 5.66 1 1.87 23 88.46 2 7.69 0 0.00 1 3.85 2005 35 70.00 11 22.00 3 6.00 1 2.00 43 89.58 4 8.33 0 0.00 1 2.08 2008 29 67.44 7 16.28 4 9.30 3 6.98 47 81.03 7 12.07 1 1.72 3 5.17 2011 22 64.71 7 20.59 3 8.82 2 5.88 48 81.36 6 10.17 2 3.39 3 5.08 2014 20 62.50 7 21.88 5 15.63 0 0.00 45 75.00 9 15.00 2 3.33 4 6.67 Labour National European Māori Pasifika Asian European Māori Pasifika Asian N % N % N % N % N % N % N % N % 1996 30 81.08 5 13.51 2 5.41 0 0.00 40 90.91 2 4.55 1 2.27 1 2.27 1999 36 73.47 10 20.41 3 6.12 0 0.00 36 92.31 2 5.13 0 0.00 1 2.56 2002 39 73.58 10 18.87 3 5.66 1 1.87 23 88.46 2 7.69 0 0.00 1 3.85 2005 35 70.00 11 22.00 3 6.00 1 2.00 43 89.58 4 8.33 0 0.00 1 2.08 2008 29 67.44 7 16.28 4 9.30 3 6.98 47 81.03 7 12.07 1 1.72 3 5.17 2011 22 64.71 7 20.59 3 8.82 2 5.88 48 81.36 6 10.17 2 3.39 3 5.08 2014 20 62.50 7 21.88 5 15.63 0 0.00 45 75.00 9 15.00 2 3.33 4 6.67 As can be seen from Table 1, while MPs of European background remain more dominant in the National Party than in Labour, the pattern of decline in their representation is similar in both parties. While the proportion of Māori has increased in both parties over time, it has been consistently higher among Labour’s compared with National’s MPs. In part, this reflects the voting behaviour of the Māori population who tend to be overrepresented among the Labour electorate (Sullivan et al., 2014). Pasifika have always been better represented in Labour compared with National. Neither Labour nor National has formal numerical requirements regarding the representation of ethnic groups in either electorate candidate selection or list rankings. However, within the structure of the Labour party, a long-recognised Pasifika sector and a strong Māori sector, Te Kaunihera Māori, have organised effectively, in contrast to the absence of sustained formal organisation of other (immigrant) ethnic groups. The National Party, in contrast, does not have a comparable structure of sectors or networks for any ethnic group within the party. Asian representation has, in most electoral periods, been higher within National than Labour. The cross-party differences in the Pasifika and Asian share of elected MPs is consistent with the distinctive character of these groups’ socioeconomic composition and immigration experiences that might drive party affiliation and voting patterns. As the dominant migrant working class, Pasifika voters have traditionally voted strongly in support of Labour and have had close ties to the party (Iusitini and Crothers, 2013); in turn, the party selected Pasifika candidates from the early 1990s. National, for its part, included Asian candidates from early in the period under study and expanded this gradually over time. Importantly, the National Party’s electoral success overall since 2008 also facilitated the election of a growing number of ‘ethnic’ list MPs. This contrasts with the Labour Party, whose declining nationwide party vote since 2008 diminished the number of MPs who were elected via the party list, which was—as we discuss below—the primary vehicle for introducing Asian MPs.13 4.2 The representation of ethnic groups and the list/electorate mechanism Next, we turn to our main research question and look at how MPs of the various ethnic groups have been elected. Figure 2 shows the relative share of list and electorate MPs by ethnic group over time. Table S2 in the Supplement provides percentages of each type of MP per ethnic group in the NZ Parliament between 1996 and 2014. Figure 2 View largeDownload slide Percentages of list and electorate MPs per ethnic group over time (number of MPs in brackets) Figure 2 View largeDownload slide Percentages of list and electorate MPs per ethnic group over time (number of MPs in brackets) As can be seen from Figure 2, the majority of European MPs are electorate MPs, and the percentage of electorate MPs within the group of European MPs is relatively constant over time. The share of electorate representatives among MPs of Māori descent has ranged over time from 30% to almost 60%, fluctuating against the backdrop of growth in the number of Māori electorates and a steadily rising number of Māori MPs overall (17 in 1996 up to 25 in 2014). The difference in how Pasifika and Asian MPs enter parliament—via the list or via an electorate—and the changes over time for Pasifika MPs are a notable aspect of MMP-era representation. Among Pasifika MPs, there is a mild pattern of increase over time in the proportion of MPs entering parliament as electorate MPs, rather than via the list. If we drill down to the level of individual MPs’ career paths, we observe a longitudinal pattern of some Pasifika MPs first entering parliament via the list mechanism and subsequently gaining selection and election in an electorate. With the exception of one National MP for (part of) one term, however, all Asian MPs since 1996 have been list MPs.14 What could account for the striking difference in the mode of Pasifika and Asian representation in NZ’s parliament? Both the Asian and Pasifika populations are highly geographically concentrated in particular suburbs of the Auckland region,15 so the argument from the literature that concentrated ethnic minority populations are able to use the SMD mechanism to their advantage does not immediately distinguish the groups in this context. Instead, a possible explanation for the difference in election between Asian and Pasifika relates to how both major political parties envisage the representation role of Pasifika and Asian MPs, respectively. On the one hand, the selection of Pasifika candidates to contest electorates and carry out the usual functions of an electorate MP appears to have become normalised over time. Similar to the drivers of their higher parliamentary representation overall, the greater length of residence of Pasifika in NZ may not only lead to a greater capacity to organise politically and to be considered for selection by political parties, but also to Pasifika being perceived as having sufficiently broad-based appeal across ethnic groups in society to win election as electorate candidates. On the other hand, political parties seem to continue to view MPs of Asian ethnicity in terms of their capacity to represent a particular ethnic or national community. For instance, all of Labour’s Asian MPs up to 2014 were not only elected via the list, but were list-only candidates at the election, reflecting a view within the party that both their campaigning and subsequent representation should focus on their ethnic group, and on a nationwide basis, rather than being geographically centred. More dual candidacies are evident among the National Party’s Asian MPs; indeed, across all ethnic groups, the National Party displays a higher rate of dual candidacies. Yet, aside from the sole MP who was successfully elected in a safe National seat with a high Asian population, all those with dual candidacies were nominated in unsafe seats. National’s sole ethnic Chinese MP was one of the party’s few list-only candidates and, upon election, was not assigned a ‘shadow’ electorate as is usual for list MPs, but was given the explicit brief of representing the Chinese community. Whether it relates to parties’ conceptions of the different representation demands of Asian and Pasifika communities or to parties’ views about the electability of Asian and Pasifika candidates in electorates, the differing approaches towards communities’ mode of representation is clear. In order to shed further light on these patterns it is useful to explore cross-party differences in how different ethnic groups are elected. Figures 3 and 4 present the proportion of list and electorate MPs per ethnic group for Labour and National, the two parties with a substantial number of both electorate and list MPs. Figure 3 View largeDownload slide Percentages of Labour Party list and electorate MPs per ethnic group over time (number of MPs in brackets) Figure 3 View largeDownload slide Percentages of Labour Party list and electorate MPs per ethnic group over time (number of MPs in brackets) Figure 4 View largeDownload slide Percentages of National Party list and electorate MPs per ethnic group over time (number of MPs in brackets) Figure 4 View largeDownload slide Percentages of National Party list and electorate MPs per ethnic group over time (number of MPs in brackets) The Labour Party’s Māori MPs have traditionally been more likely than their National Party counterparts to be electorate MPs. This can to a large extent be explained by the fact that National has not stood candidates in Māori electorates since 2005, and has never won a Māori electorate. By contrast, Labour has traditionally been dominant in the Māori electorates. Notable in the case of Labour’s Māori representation is that the balance between list and electorate status among its Māori MPs closely tracks the party’s fortunes in the Māori electorates. In the first MMP election in 1996, most of Labour’s Māori MPs were elected via the list due to NZ First’s clean sweep of the Māori seats. Similarly, as the Māori Party established itself from the 2005 election and onwards until 2011, Labour’s Māori MPs were primarily elected off the list, and only once it reasserted itself in the Māori seats did the balance tip back in favour of electorate representation. In other words, for Labour, electorate MPs of Māori descent have primarily been elected via the reserved seats, and there has been much lower Māori representation in General electorates. Indeed, of its seven electorate MPs of Māori descent elected in 2014, just one was elected in a General electorate. In the National Party, conversely, in five of the seven MMP elections 50% or more of the party’s Māori MPs have been electorate MPs, all elected in General electorates. Pasifika are more likely overall to be electorate MPs within Labour than in National, and they are also significantly higher in number within Labour. Here, aspiring Pasifika candidates benefit from the relatively high concentration of Pasifika voters in particular safe Labour electorates in Auckland and the greater Wellington region, which may give the party confidence in selecting Pasifika candidates. In contrast, National’s Pasifika representation has been low over time, with just three Pasifika MPs since 1996, of whom just one was elected via an electorate (in 2011 and 2014). For Asian MPs, the pattern of almost exclusive list representation holds across parties, with the exception of the one Asian National MP mentioned earlier. 4.3 The representation of ethnic groups and the list/electorate mechanism by gender Finally, we consider possible gender differences in representation of ethnic minorities and the MMP mechanism. Before doing so, it is relevant to note that, as in most post-industrialised societies, women are underrepresented in the NZ Parliament. After the 2014 election, 31.4% of elected MPs were women. Variation between the ethnic groups exists, however. As can be seen from Table 2, women tend to be overall least well represented among European MPs. The pattern between European and Māori is particularly striking. In each election year, women have been better represented among Māori MPs than among European MPs, with percentage differences rising to almost 20% at times. In most election years there is a slight tendency for women to be better represented among Pasifika and Asian MPs than among the group of European MPs. These findings give some support to the proposition in the literature that parties may view ethnic minority women as an ‘efficient’ means of balancing their candidate slate, with these MPs embodying two types of underrepresented groups (women and ethnic minorities). Nonetheless, the relatively low numbers so far make it difficult to draw clear conclusions from these groups’ patterns. Table 2 Percentages and number of female MPs per ethnic group over time European Māori Pasifika Asian Total Na %b N % N % N % N 1996 26 26.26 6 35.29 0 0.00 1 100.00 33 1999 28 28.28 8 47.05 1 33.33 1 100.00 38 2002 25 26.32 8 40.00 1 33.33 2 50.00 35 2005 28 30.11 10 43.48 1 33.33 2 50.00 40 2008 28 30.77 10 50.00 2 40.00 6 33.33 42 2011 28 31.82 9 40.91 1 16.67 5 20.00 39 2014 24 28.92 9 36.00 3 37.50 5 40.00 38 European Māori Pasifika Asian Total Na %b N % N % N % N 1996 26 26.26 6 35.29 0 0.00 1 100.00 33 1999 28 28.28 8 47.05 1 33.33 1 100.00 38 2002 25 26.32 8 40.00 1 33.33 2 50.00 35 2005 28 30.11 10 43.48 1 33.33 2 50.00 40 2008 28 30.77 10 50.00 2 40.00 6 33.33 42 2011 28 31.82 9 40.91 1 16.67 5 20.00 39 2014 24 28.92 9 36.00 3 37.50 5 40.00 38 Notes: a Total number of female MPs within the ethnic group; b Female MPs as a percentage of the ethnic group’s MPs. Table 2 Percentages and number of female MPs per ethnic group over time European Māori Pasifika Asian Total Na %b N % N % N % N 1996 26 26.26 6 35.29 0 0.00 1 100.00 33 1999 28 28.28 8 47.05 1 33.33 1 100.00 38 2002 25 26.32 8 40.00 1 33.33 2 50.00 35 2005 28 30.11 10 43.48 1 33.33 2 50.00 40 2008 28 30.77 10 50.00 2 40.00 6 33.33 42 2011 28 31.82 9 40.91 1 16.67 5 20.00 39 2014 24 28.92 9 36.00 3 37.50 5 40.00 38 European Māori Pasifika Asian Total Na %b N % N % N % N 1996 26 26.26 6 35.29 0 0.00 1 100.00 33 1999 28 28.28 8 47.05 1 33.33 1 100.00 38 2002 25 26.32 8 40.00 1 33.33 2 50.00 35 2005 28 30.11 10 43.48 1 33.33 2 50.00 40 2008 28 30.77 10 50.00 2 40.00 6 33.33 42 2011 28 31.82 9 40.91 1 16.67 5 20.00 39 2014 24 28.92 9 36.00 3 37.50 5 40.00 38 Notes: a Total number of female MPs within the ethnic group; b Female MPs as a percentage of the ethnic group’s MPs. Differences between the two major parties do exist, and Table 3 shows the proportion of women for each ethnic group over time for the two main parties. Table 3 Percentages and number of female MPs per ethnic group over time for Labour and National Labour National European Māori Pasifika Asian European Māori Pasifika Asian Na %b N % N % N % N % N % N % N % 1996 10 33.33 3 60.00 0 0.00 0 N.A.c 5 12.50 1 50.00 0 0.00 1 100.00 1999 13 36.11 5 50.00 1 33.33 0 N.A.c 7 19.44 1 50.00 0 N.A.c 0 0.00 2002 14 35.90 5 50.00 1 33.33 0 0.00 3 13.04 1 50.00 0 N.A.c 1 100.00 2005 13 37.14 6 54.55 1 33.33 0 0.00 9 20.93 2 50.00 0 N.A.c 1 100.00 2008 11 37.93 4 57.14 2 40.00 0 0.00 12 25.53 3 42.86 0 0.00 2 66.67 2011 8 36.36 4 57.14 0 0.00 0 0.00 12 25.00 2 33.33 0 0.00 1 33.33 2014 6 30.00 3 42.86 3 60.00 0 N.A.c 11 24.44 3 33.33 0 0.00 2 50.00 Labour National European Māori Pasifika Asian European Māori Pasifika Asian Na %b N % N % N % N % N % N % N % 1996 10 33.33 3 60.00 0 0.00 0 N.A.c 5 12.50 1 50.00 0 0.00 1 100.00 1999 13 36.11 5 50.00 1 33.33 0 N.A.c 7 19.44 1 50.00 0 N.A.c 0 0.00 2002 14 35.90 5 50.00 1 33.33 0 0.00 3 13.04 1 50.00 0 N.A.c 1 100.00 2005 13 37.14 6 54.55 1 33.33 0 0.00 9 20.93 2 50.00 0 N.A.c 1 100.00 2008 11 37.93 4 57.14 2 40.00 0 0.00 12 25.53 3 42.86 0 0.00 2 66.67 2011 8 36.36 4 57.14 0 0.00 0 0.00 12 25.00 2 33.33 0 0.00 1 33.33 2014 6 30.00 3 42.86 3 60.00 0 N.A.c 11 24.44 3 33.33 0 0.00 2 50.00 Notes: aTotal number of female MPs within the ethnic group; bFemale MPs as a percentage of the ethnic group’s MPs; cN.A.: No MPs of the ethnic background are elected for that party. Table 3 Percentages and number of female MPs per ethnic group over time for Labour and National Labour National European Māori Pasifika Asian European Māori Pasifika Asian Na %b N % N % N % N % N % N % N % 1996 10 33.33 3 60.00 0 0.00 0 N.A.c 5 12.50 1 50.00 0 0.00 1 100.00 1999 13 36.11 5 50.00 1 33.33 0 N.A.c 7 19.44 1 50.00 0 N.A.c 0 0.00 2002 14 35.90 5 50.00 1 33.33 0 0.00 3 13.04 1 50.00 0 N.A.c 1 100.00 2005 13 37.14 6 54.55 1 33.33 0 0.00 9 20.93 2 50.00 0 N.A.c 1 100.00 2008 11 37.93 4 57.14 2 40.00 0 0.00 12 25.53 3 42.86 0 0.00 2 66.67 2011 8 36.36 4 57.14 0 0.00 0 0.00 12 25.00 2 33.33 0 0.00 1 33.33 2014 6 30.00 3 42.86 3 60.00 0 N.A.c 11 24.44 3 33.33 0 0.00 2 50.00 Labour National European Māori Pasifika Asian European Māori Pasifika Asian Na %b N % N % N % N % N % N % N % 1996 10 33.33 3 60.00 0 0.00 0 N.A.c 5 12.50 1 50.00 0 0.00 1 100.00 1999 13 36.11 5 50.00 1 33.33 0 N.A.c 7 19.44 1 50.00 0 N.A.c 0 0.00 2002 14 35.90 5 50.00 1 33.33 0 0.00 3 13.04 1 50.00 0 N.A.c 1 100.00 2005 13 37.14 6 54.55 1 33.33 0 0.00 9 20.93 2 50.00 0 N.A.c 1 100.00 2008 11 37.93 4 57.14 2 40.00 0 0.00 12 25.53 3 42.86 0 0.00 2 66.67 2011 8 36.36 4 57.14 0 0.00 0 0.00 12 25.00 2 33.33 0 0.00 1 33.33 2014 6 30.00 3 42.86 3 60.00 0 N.A.c 11 24.44 3 33.33 0 0.00 2 50.00 Notes: aTotal number of female MPs within the ethnic group; bFemale MPs as a percentage of the ethnic group’s MPs; cN.A.: No MPs of the ethnic background are elected for that party. Table 3 indicates that while the proportion of women among European MPs has increased over time within National, their proportion has been consistently lower than within Labour. The proportion of women is higher among MPs of Māori descent than among Europeans in both the main political parties. Until the 2014 election, when their proportion decreased to 43%, female Māori MPs had held more than 50% of all seats held by Māori MPs within Labour since 1996. Within National, women held 50% of seats among the group of Māori MPs in the first four elections under MMP, but their proportion decreased from 2008 onwards, dropping to 33% in 2011 and 2014. National has not yet had a female Pasifika MP, whereas in 2014, three of Labour’s five Pasifika MPs were women. While Labour had no female Asian MPs up to 2014, National had a small number,16 although not enough to allow clear patterns to be observed. Moving to a closer examination of gender differences, Figures 5 and 6 present the percentages of list and electorate MPs for the various ethnic groups over time for men and women, respectively. Figure 5 View largeDownload slide Percentages of male list and electorate MPs per ethnic group over time (number of MPs in brackets) Figure 5 View largeDownload slide Percentages of male list and electorate MPs per ethnic group over time (number of MPs in brackets) Figure 6 View largeDownload slide Percentages of female list and electorate MPs per ethnic group over time (number of MPs in brackets) Figure 6 View largeDownload slide Percentages of female list and electorate MPs per ethnic group over time (number of MPs in brackets) Comparing Figures 5 and 6 reveals that, overall, women are more likely to be elected as list MPs than men. Indeed, consistent with findings in the literature on female representation, European female MPs tend to be more likely to be elected as list compared with men, although there is some narrowing of the gap. Additional analyses (data not shown) reveal that this pattern holds both for National and Labour. Similarly, and while (as seen in Table 2) women are well represented overall among the group of Māori MPs, female Māori MPs have (with the exception of 2002) been significantly more likely than their male counterparts to be elected as list MPs. Party-specific data (not shown) reveal that this gender difference among Māori MPs is especially strong within the National Party, where women are also much more likely to be list MPs compared with their male counterparts. Such gender differences do not occur within Labour, at least in part due to the greater possibility overall of electorate representation given Labour’s traditional strength in the Māori electorates. Given the low absolute numbers of MPs with a Pasifika background, no dominant pattern of representation emerges for female Pasifika MPs over time, but it is evident that female Pasifika MPs have succeeded in being selected and elected both via the list and in electorates. The only Asian MP who has so far been elected in an electorate was a woman. 5. Discussion Having shown representation patterns across the main ethnic groups in New Zealand’s parliament and differences therein along party and gender lines, the obvious next question is whether the differences in representation simply reflect ethnic groups’ differential rates of selection as a candidate. In other words: is the over- or underrepresentation of certain ethnic groups a result of their likelihood to be over- or underrepresented as candidates? While the focus of this article is on mapping the representation of elected MPs, we step back in this final substantive section to provide an indicative answer to the question of the relationship between selection and representation patterns. In order to do this we compiled a dataset of list and electorate candidates of all parties at the 2014 parliamentary election, the final election in our longitudinal analysis of MPs. As with the MP data set, information was collected about gender, ethnicity, party, and list versus electorate nomination. For the candidate analysis we also added information on whether candidates were nominated to a safe list and/or electorate position, which enables us to assess to what extent this may create variation in ethnic group representation.17 We first look at the overall distribution of ethnic groups among candidates in the 2014 election. As Figure 7 shows, at an aggregate level the relative shares of each ethnic group among candidates match relatively closely the patterns observed among elected MPs in 2014. In particular, those of European ethnicity (68.9% of all candidates, 68.6% of MPs) and of Māori descent (21.6% of candidates, 20.7% of MPs) display a close match in their representation among both candidates and MPs.18 More divergent patterns are, however, evident for Asian and Pasifika ethnic groups. Pasifika made up a higher share of MPs (6.6%) than of candidates (4.5%) in 2014. By contrast, Asian elected representation lagged slightly behind its representation among candidates (5.1% of candidates, 4.1% of MPs). Those with an Asian ethnic background thus seem to have a lower likelihood of being elected than Pasifika MPs. Yet, even among candidates, the representation of those of Asian ethnicity is at a little under half the rate of their share in the population as a whole. Figure 7 View largeDownload slide Percentages of candidates per ethnic group, 2014 Figure 7 View largeDownload slide Percentages of candidates per ethnic group, 2014 When we focus only on the two main parties, more or less the same patterns occur among candidates as were observed for MPs. Party-specific analysis (not shown) demonstrates lower representation of Europeans among Labour’s 2014 candidates (67.1%) than among National’s candidates (76%). Conversely, as among the MPs, Labour has a higher rate of Māori (National: 14.7%, Labour: 17.7%) and Pasifika (National: 4.0%, Labour: 9.4%) candidates. There is, however, a difference between the share of candidates and the share of MPs among those of Asian ethnicity. As Table 1 indicated, Labour had no MPs of Asian ethnicity elected in 2014, while 6.6% of National’s party group in parliament was of Asian ethnicity. However, both parties had approximately the same share of candidates of Asian ethnicity (Labour 5.9%; National 5.3%). In other words, the success rate of Asian candidates differed dramatically between the two parties in 2014. Whereas 100% of National’s four Asian candidates was elected, 0% of Labour’s five Asian candidates was elected.19 To what extent then is relative safety of candidates’ positions driving these differences between Asian and Pasifika candidates? Figure 8 shows the proportion of candidates across all parties whose candidacy was safe, by ethnic group.20 Figure 8 View largeDownload slide Safety of list position/electorate per ethnic group, 2014 Figure 8 View largeDownload slide Safety of list position/electorate per ethnic group, 2014 There is very little difference across ethnic groups, except for the outlier of Pasifika candidates whose candidacies were disproportionately ‘safer’ than those of all other ethnic groups. This may explain why, as presented above, Pasifika candidates overall have a greater likelihood of being elected compared with Asian candidates: they are, overall, more likely to campaign in a safe electorate or to occupy a safe list position. The overall pattern presented in Figure 8, however, masks significant differences between the two main parties. Analysis at the party level (not shown) demonstrated that, while 40% of Labour’s Asian candidates were considered to be in safe positions, the same was true of 100% of National’s Asian candidates.21 Similarly, a higher share of National’s Pasifika and Māori candidates occupied safe positions.22 Thus, based on the 2014 data, while Labour fields more ethnic minority candidates, they are more likely to occupy an unsafe electorate or list position than their counterparts in National. Finally, when we introduce intersectionality between gender and ethnicity into the analysis, we find more variation across the ethnic groups among the candidates than among the MPs. As can be seen from Figure 9, the share of female candidates per ethnic group ranged from a low of 27% to a high of 53% in 2014, which contrasts with the smaller range (and thus greater equality) among MPs (see Table 2). Figure 9 View largeDownload slide Percentages of female candidates per ethnic group, 2014 Figure 9 View largeDownload slide Percentages of female candidates per ethnic group, 2014 Nonetheless, what is consistent across both MPs and candidates is that, on the whole, women are better represented among ethnic minority groups than within the European ethnic group. The European group has the lowest share of women among its ranks, whereas the highest share of female candidates is found among Māori and Pasifika. The proportion of women is higher among Pasifika than among Asian candidates. Female Asian candidates do have a marginally greater likelihood of being elected than their Pasifika counterparts and, based on the 2014 data, they also have safer positions than any other ethnic group, as Figure 10 shows. Figure 10 View largeDownload slide Safety of list position/electorate for female candidates per ethnic group, 2014 Figure 10 View largeDownload slide Safety of list position/electorate for female candidates per ethnic group, 2014 The pattern of candidacies in 2014 therefore shows some consistency with the results among elected MPs over time in the greater representation of women in the ethnic minority groups, which goes some way to counter the argument in the intersectionality literature that female ethnic minority candidates face ‘double jeopardy’. These data also mostly support the argument that women will be better represented in ethnic minority groups in parties of the left (as is also the case among majority candidates) (Evans, 2016). Only among the very small number of Asian candidates did the centre-right National Party have a higher share of female candidates than Labour. Overall, this initial test of the candidate pipeline, through an examination of 2014 candidates across all political parties, indicates that, just as among elected MPs over time, the Asian share of candidates is disproportionately lower than other ethnic groups’ share. Their lower representation in parliament is, therefore, not so much due to a higher likelihood of being selected in unsafe electorate or list positions or to not being elected by the voters, but rather due to not being selected in significant numbers in the first place. These indicative data do not allow us to draw definitive conclusions about the causes of lower levels of selection, such as a supply problem, shorter period of settlement of much of the Asian community, and possibly lower levels of political integration among the Asian population than among other ethnic groups. However, the observed cross-party differences do suggest that intra-party selection practices and strategies may make a difference in ethnic group outcomes, notably the different rates of representation and success between Asian and Pasifika candidates in Labour and National. The National Party’s placement of all of its Asian candidates in clearly electable list positions points to that party’s ability to translate candidacy into representation as far as ethnic diversity is concerned. This contrasts with the distribution of Asian candidates in both safe and unsafe positions throughout Labour’s list. In turn, the electorate success of Labour’s Pasifika candidates seems to indicate successful intra-party organising by that party’s Pasifika sector to achieve candidate selection in winnable electorates. 6. Conclusion With growing ethnic diversity in most societies, the scholarly literature has begun to study the representation of ethnic minorities. This article has examined the representation of ethnic groups in the NZ Parliament under MMP, addressing questions of whether ethnic minorities are more likely to be elected as list or electorate MPs compared with those of an ethnic majority (European) background, while also examining differences across ethnic groups, political parties and gender, as well as over time. Our data show that, consistent with international patterns, the basic trend over time is one of growing ethnic diversity in parliament. European representation has gradually declined, with the Māori, Pasifika and Asian presence growing. Notably, though, whereas Pasifika representation has almost reached that population’s proportion in society, Asian representation remains comparatively low. Furthermore, while the Labour Party led the way in ethnic diversity, and continues to have markedly higher Māori and Pasifika presence in its caucus than does the National Party, the latter began achieving greater diversity in its body of MPs from the mid-2000s. National’s Asian representation even outpaced the Labour Party in 2014. The high education, high-wealth profile of many in the newer and growing Asian immigrant population increases the likelihood that they support parties of the right, and the comparatively high Asian representation within the National Party reflects the party’s awareness of the value of the Asian population for its electoral success. Overall, we found more list MPs than electorate MPs among ethnic minorities compared with the ethnic majority, supporting previous research on Germany (Wüst, 2014). Substantial differences do, however, occur between different groups of ethnic minorities. In particular, and while both the Asian and Pasifika population groups display high levels of geographic concentration in NZ, Pasifika MPs are significantly more likely to represent an electorate than Asian MPs. Hence, while geographic concentration may have some effect on ethnic minorities’ mode of representation, other factors are clearly at work, such as an ethnic community’s length of residence in the society, degree of ethnic organisation, as well as party views on the type of representation MPs should provide. As the bulk of the Asian population arrived in NZ more recently than did Pasifika, party leaders may (still) prefer to present Asian MPs as list MPs representing the Asian community nationwide, rather than a specific electorate. Nevertheless, we would expect that, as their length of settlement increases, the mild trend towards a greater likelihood of being elected as an electorate MP that is evident for Pasifika might also appear in the Asian population. The pattern of representation is more diffuse for Māori overall, which also reflects the distinctive dynamic of indigenous political representation. In particular, the existence of Māori electorates (to fill the reserved Māori seats) creates a distinct sphere dedicated to ‘ethnic’ Māori representation. Thanks to these seats, Māori are well represented in parliament, and more so within Labour than National. Labour’s Māori MPs have traditionally also been more likely than their National counterparts to be electorate MPs, which can be explained by Labour’s traditional dominance in the Māori electorates, whereas National has never won a Māori electorate. Adding to the literature on intersectionality, our data show that, overall, women are better represented among ethnic minority groups, and in particular Māori, than among European MPs. Although the present data do not allow us to infer party motivations in candidate selection, this pattern appears consistent with the claim in the literature that multiple dimensions of ‘otherness’ will often be concentrated so as to create the least amount of disruption to (majority) incumbents. Compared with men, women of all ethnic groups (except the Asian group where the sole electorate MP has been a woman) have been more likely to be list MPs than electorate MPs over the period under study. MMP has clearly been a success if we are concerned with diversifying parliament and achieving higher levels of descriptive representation that reflect substantial demographic change in NZ. Pasifika have achieved good levels of descriptive representation, while indigenous Māori representation has benefited both from the guaranteed representation provided by the rising number of Māori seats and, for parties that are electorally weak in the Māori electorates, from the ability to include diversity in the party list. The most recent general election, in September 2017, confirmed these trends and further reflected the ability of PR to represent society more fully. It was the best ever election for women’s representation, with 38% of the new parliament being female. Moreover, as was the pattern in our analysis for 1996–2014, women are better represented among ethnic minority than among European MPs. The parliament also continues to diversify ethnically, with the European share of MPs dropping further to around 66%. The numbers of Pasifika and Māori MPs held steady, and parties of the left were the dominant vehicle for their presence in parliament (especially in light of the demise of the Māori Party and the resurgence of the Labour Party to win all seven Māori electorates). Given the relative underrepresentation of the Asian population throughout the period under analysis in this article, and the indication from 2014 data that fewer Asian candidates are selected overall, perhaps the most notable development in this latest election was the rise in Asian representation, from around 4% to over 5.5% of the parliament. Much like the rising female representation, this shift was in large part due to the combined improved performance of all parties of the left in the nationwide vote share. Labour, in particular, appeared to have learned from its experience in 2014 by placing its highest-ranked candidates of Asian background in certain electable list positions. For their part, the Greens brought in the country’s first ever refugee background MP. Fluctuations in party fortunes in the nationwide vote share, as well as list ranking strategies, therefore continue to matter for shaping the contours of Asian representation, especially given that—as with almost all of the 1996–2014 period—100% of the MPs of Asian background entered parliament via a party list. A key question for the future thus remains whether Asian representation in the political system will become ‘normalised’ once the communities have been in NZ longer and once generational change occurs. As, aside from the reserved seats for Māori, there have been no formal initiatives in law or in parties to guarantee higher representation of ethnic groups (as for women), we must look to both bottom-up ethnic organising and top-down party selectorate strategies for future strengthening of descriptive representation. Supplementary data Supplementary material available at Parliamentary Affairs online. Footnotes 1 See, however, Ruedin (2009) for an argument that the type of electoral system is not a major factor in shaping minority representation. 2 In all government ethnic statistics reported in the current article, ethnicity is a matter of self-identification and respondents may identify with multiple ethnicities (Statistics New Zealand, 2005). 3 We use the terms ‘Pacific Peoples’ and ‘Pasifika’ interchangeably. 4 Parties are entitled to a distribution of seats in parliament if they receive either at least 5% of the nationwide list vote or if a candidate from their party wins an electorate. 5 The parliament can temporarily expand beyond 120 MPs if a party wins more electorates than the number of seats to which it is entitled based on its share of the nationwide vote. 6 NZ has neither reserved seats nor formal quotas for the representation of women or non-indigenous ethnic minority groups. 7 When people first enrol as a voter they are asked whether they are of Māori descent and, if so, on which electoral roll (General or Māori) they wish to register. At the 2013 Māori Electoral Option, 55% of 413,348 electors of Māori descent chose to be on the Māori Roll (Electoral Commission, 2014b). 8 For each legislative period, the data records all MPs who entered parliament after the election. It does not take account of changes during the legislative period, such as replacements of MPs who retire or resign. 9 Together, these parties hold the vast majority of seats in parliament. After the 2014 elections, for example, they held 92 of the 121 seats. While the Green Party and NZ First have both had numerous MPs in several legislative periods, they have been almost exclusively list MPs. The Māori Party has had both list and electorate MPs, but not numerous enough for analysis at the more disaggregated (party) level. 10 Government statistics refer to being of ‘Māori descent’, and self-identification is central. ‘Māori’ thus includes some MPs who are not ‘visible’ in the sense of ‘visible minority’ or who do not highlight their ethnic identity politically, but who nonetheless have at some time identified as of Māori descent. 11 No representatives from other visible minority groups were elected between 1996 and 2014. 12 As noted above, we focus on the two main parties when investigating party differences. Some trends among the smaller parties can be noted, however. While Māori are relatively well represented within the Green Party, the party had no Asian or Pasifika MPs in the period under analysis. NZ First has also had only limited representation of Pasifika and Asian people: one Pacific MP in 2011 and in 2014, and one Asian MP in 2014. Representation of Māori MPs is, however, comparatively high. In 2014, for instance, more than 36% of NZ First’s MPs were of Māori descent. 13 Indeed, the two highest-placed unsuccessful candidates on Labour’s party list in 2014 were both of Asian ethnicity. Both were in safe list positions based on Labour’s performance in the two prior elections and the party thus expected them to enter parliament. 14 The Asian electorate MP, previously also a list MP, resigned as a Minister in late 2010, and then in early 2011 as an MP, following allegations of improper use of taxpayer travel subsidies (New Zealand Herald, 2010). 15 Large majorities of those in NZ who identify as Asian (65.1%) and those who identify as Pasifika (65.9%) live in the Auckland region (Statistics New Zealand, 2014b). 16 After the 2014 elections, two of National’s four Asian MPs were women. 17 Following Zittel and Gschwend (2008) and Hazan and Rahat (2010), a safe electorate is calculated as one in which the candidate, or a candidate from the same party, won the electorate by a margin of at least 10% over the second-placed candidate in the previous election. A safe list position is calculated by taking the average of the last elected list position off the party list at the previous two elections (Hazan and Rahat, 2010). 18 The patterns are similar if we consider type of candidacy. For instance, Asian candidates are less likely to be dual candidates, and are most likely to be list-only candidates. In 2014 there were no Asian electorate-only candidates. Cross-party differences exist in general—the National Party has significantly higher dual candidacy rates than Labour, and no electorate-only candidacies, suggesting different selection practices in the parties. 19 For Pasifika candidates the success rate was also slightly higher in National (66.7%) than in Labour (72.5%), although National had a much lower share of Pasifika candidates than Labour. 20 Dual (list and electorate) candidates were coded as ‘safe’ if either their list position or their electorate (or both) counted as safe. 21 We recognize that the party that has been more successful in winning a higher share of the nationwide vote in prior elections also has more safe positions available for distribution. 22 The lower share of Labour’s Māori candidates in safe list positions or electorates is heavily influenced by their candidacies in the Māori seats, where fluctuation in support between Labour and the Māori Party over the course of several electoral cycles meant none of the Māori electorates, even incumbent seats, were considered safe. The National Party does not nominate candidates in the Māori electorates. Acknowledgements The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of Victoria University of Wellington. They thank Dr John Wilson of the New Zealand Parliamentary Library for assistance and guidance on the parliamentary data, and Chloe FitzPatrick, Hamish Clark, Simon Forbes and Sam Crawley for their assistance with data collection and editorial help. Fiona Barker acknowledges the support of the European Union Centres Network and the ANU Centre for European Studies during the writing of the article. Conflicts of interest No conflicts of interest to disclose. References Bird K. ( 2005 ) ‘ The Political Representation of Visible Minorities in Electoral Democracies: A Comparison of France, Denmark and Canada ’, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics , 11 , 425 – 465 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Bird K. 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Parliamentary Affairs – Oxford University Press
Published: Dec 28, 2017
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