November 2014 Māori Law Review

2014 General Election and government formation

The Electoral Commission released on 4 October the final results of the 20 September 2014 general election.

Overview and result

51st Parliament - seats in the House of Representatives

The National Party secured 47.04% of party votes cast giving it 60 seats in a 121 member House of Representatives. The Labour Party won 32 seats, the Green Party 14 seats and the New Zealand First Party 11 seats. The Māori Party won 2 Māori electorate seats and 1.32% of the party vote. ACT New Zealand and United Future each won 1 electorate seat.

The Māori electorates returned the following members of Parliament:

ElectorateSuccessful candidateParty
Te Tai TokerauKelvin DavisLabour Party
Tāmaki MakaurauPeeni HenaraLabour Party
Hauraki-WaikatoNanaia MahutaLabour Party
WaiarikiTe Ururoa FlavellMāori Party
Ikaroa-RāwhitiMeka WhaitiriLabour Party
Te Tai HauāuruAdrian RuawheLabour Party
Te Tai TongaRino TirikateneLabour Party

Voter turnout

Total voter turnout was 77.9% (as a percentage of those enrolled). This was 3.7% above the 2011 turnout and 1.6% below the 2008 voter turnout.

Voting levels in the Māori electorates (as a percentage of those enrolled) ranged from 60.65% to 69.27%.

Voting levels across all electorates by age and by Māori or non-Māori descent (based on self-identification by voters and expressed as a percentage of those enrolled to vote) was as follows:

Age rangeMāori VotersNon-Māori voters
 18-24 54.92 64.89
 25-29 55.65 63.71
 30-34 61.53 68.61
 35-39 66.62 73.99
 40-44 69.18 77.51
 45-49 71.78 79.75
 50-54 73.78 81.86
 55-59 76.91 84.16
 60-64 80.69 86.61
 65-69 83.89 88.45
 70+ 81.77 86.02

Government formation

On 6 October Prime Minister Rt. Hon John Key announced ministerial posts in the third term National-led government. This followed entry into a relationship accord and confidence and supply agreement with the Māori Party on 5 October. Other confidence and supply agreements had been reached between the National Party and ACT New Zealand and the United Future Party respectively on 29 September. These agreements mean the National-led government has 64 of 121 members of Parliament supporting it on confidence and supply issues.

Te Ururoa Flavell, the co-leader of the Māori Party, was appointed as Minister for Māori Development, Minister responsible for Whānau Ora and Associate Minister for Economic Development.

Relationship accord and confidence and supply agreement between the National and Māori parties

The relationship accord between the National-led Government and the Māori Party is labelled as te tatau ki te paerangi (a doorway to our horizons). It contains provisions permitting the Māori Party to decide how to vote on measures, other than for confidence and supply, on a case by case basis. It is based on good faith engagement and a policy of no surprises between the parties.

The agreement on the Māori Party's contribution to the collective responsibility of Cabinet is described as follows:

Te Ururoa Flavell agrees to be bound by collective responsibility in relation to his portfolios. When he speaks about issues within his portfolio responsibilities he will speak for the Government, representing the Government’s position in relation to those responsibilities. When he speaks about matters outside his portfolio responsibilities, however, he may speak as a Maori Party Co-Leader, or as a Member of Parliament. He will support the Government’s position in all matters that are the subject of confidence and supply votes.

Where there has been full participation in the development of a policy initiative outside of any portfolio responsibility held by Te Ururoa Flavell, and that participation has led to an agreed position, it is expected that all parties to this agreement will publicly support the process and the outcome.

The agreement on policy priorities is as follows:

In this parliamentary term the Maori Party wishes to continue to pursue its policy priorities with the government – ongoing investment in Whanau Ora; the continuation of the work by the Ministerial Committee on Poverty; a focus on Maori economic and regional development; encouraging greater Maori participation in the electoral process, among the key ones. These priorities will guide the work of Te Puni Kokiri and be reflected in the Statement of Intent to be agreed between the Minister and Chief Executive.

National agrees to work with the Maori Party on these and other policy areas as may be identified from time to time in good faith.

With respect to National’s legislative agenda, Ministerial offices will work with the Māori Party Co-Leader’s Office on matters to come before the House. The Maori Party will consider its position on each Bill in good faith and advise the relevant Minister

Absent from the 2014 accord is the Treaty of Waitangi clause that was found in the 2011 accord: “The National Party and the Māori Party will act in accordance with Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Treaty of Waitangi. The Treaty is our country’s founding document. It created a nation based on diversity and shared aspirations for future success and prosperity."


For more detailed information see: