Little diversity in New Zealand's average politician

Pay Equity Challenge campaigners Karen Price (left), Conor Twyford, Susan Elliot, Noeline Holt, Tina McIvor and Angela McLeod on the Parliament forecourt in Wellington, 2009. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Pay Equity Challenge campaigners Karen Price (left), Conor Twyford, Susan Elliot, Noeline Holt, Tina McIvor and Angela McLeod on the Parliament forecourt in Wellington, 2009. Photo / Mark Mitchell

MMP has brought greater diversity to Parliament - right?

Despite the claims of greater representation under the current electoral system, statistics show the average parliamentarian elected in Saturday's election was a straight European man, from the North Island, aged in his 50s.

According to a breakdown of the new Parliament by right-wing blogger David Farrar, the majorities that have always dominated Parliament continue to do so.

Of the 121 elected, 83 are men and 38 are women. Nearly three quarters, 74 per cent, are European, 17 per cent are Maori, 5 per cent Pacific and 4 per cent Asian.

Even leaving room for some age queries, MPs in their 50s dominated the age brackets, with those in their 40s not too far behind.

MPs in their 60s came in next, then those in their 30s. There are two in their 20s, and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is the lone representative for those aged over 70.

About three quarters of the Parliament comes from the North Island, with the majority based in Auckland.

A breakdown of MPs based on sexuality showed 5 per cent were openly homosexual.

Green Party women's affairs spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty said she was disappointed that the number of women had gone down for the first time since the introduction of MMP.

"MMP has been essential in order to increase the representation of women in Parliament.

"There have been more female MPs in the last 15 years than there were since women were able to get into Parliament,'' Ms Delahunty said.

"However, the initial gains have plateaued and political parties need to make a commitment to gender balance.''

Out of the National Party's 60 MPs, 15 are female, which Ms Delahunty said showed a lack of commitment to gender representation.

Labour's caucus was 35 per cent female, the Greens 54 per cent, NZ First 38 per cent, and the Maori Party 33 per cent.

- APNZ

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