There has been a lot of talk  about Maori seats lately so we have decided to look at what this  means exactly.

Firstly, it’s important to note that we are not talking about an intricately carved chair made out of totara. We are talking about a special ward to represent the interests of Maori.

Now, the Tauranga City Council doesn’t agree on many things and it is also far from unanimous on this issue. However, enough councillors have decided there are too many pakehas and not enough Maoris so they want to change that.

The algorithm

The upshot of all this is that a new Maori ward will be created, unless five percent of 40.3 per cent of voters (the turn-out at the last election) decide they want a public vote on it. That’s about 2000 signatures on a petition, so it’s not that challenging.

You may have noticed that some weird numbers are starting to creep into the discussion but this is democracy and you can’t have democracy without numbers. It’s undemocratic.

You also can’t provide a voice for a minority by asking the majority to vote on it so all the petitions and voting in the world may eventually be undone by a sympathetic government.

Other referendums in other places that have made the same suggestion have usually been massively opposed to the concept of a special Maori ward. But that didn’t always stop them happening.

Working it out

However before people start getting upset that someone is getting more votes than them, it’s important to understand that the number of Maori seats should be roughly proportional to the number of people on the Maori Electoral Roll. You either vote for the Maori ward or one of the others, but not both. And everyone votes for the Mayor of their choice.

And this is calculated by a simple formula: NMM=MEPD÷(MEPD+GEPD)xNM.

The statistical gods have smiled on us at this point, because it turns out there is almost exactly 100,000 voters – or GEPD’s - on the electoral roll in the Tauranga City Council area. There is 100,132 to be exact.

There is 7275 people – or MEPD’s - on the Maori electoral roll and 92,857 on the General Electoral Roll (GEPD’s). So, if there is one new Maori councillor added to the existing 10 councillors and a Mayor, there will be 12 members on the council, otherwise known as NM’s.

So the formula for the number of Maori members (you guessed it, NMM’s) is 7275÷(7275+92,857)x12 . And that, my friend, is 0.87 of a Maori seat.

The social experiment

Obviously there is no such thing as 0.87 of a person so this is rounded up or down to the nearest whole number, which, for those who passed School C’, or Level 1 maths, is 1.

Of course, the council might do it completely different, and don’t even get me started on STV’s but this is the most popular and democratically sound way of achieving it. And that’s how they do it in the general elections.

Now, this whole issue of diversity around the Tauranga City Council is clearly important enough for some serious social engineering but I think with a bit of tweaking we could tame the real elephant in the room.

Bad behaviour

Councillors and the mayor have been using naughty words in their conversations with each other. There has been much beating of chests, brow beating and generally antisocial social media.

I’m a little concerned that adding another male to the mix is a bit like throwing petrol on the fire.

So I think that, at least to start with, all new Maori candidates should be limited to women. Aunties, to be specific.

Everyone on the appropriate electoral roll simply votes for their most feared auntie.

An auntie, armed with a big paddle, should then be given free license to start swinging the minute someone steps out of line.

Nothing brings an ego into line faster than an Auntie with a paddle and no-one is better at mending the bloody noses and black eyes when things get really ugly.

Aunties fix everything and rate payers will save a small fortune on catering.

I say bring on the aunties and sort out the mess.

Daniel Hutchinson
From The Hutch