The Intersecting Electoral Politics of Immigration and Inequality in Aotearoa/New Zealand
This chapter examines immigrants’ voice in New Zealand’s electoral politics by looking at how many immigrant members of parliament (MPs) there are, and how many immigrants turn out to vote. I point out that while New Zealand’s mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system and the availability of voting rights to permanent residents facilitate immigrant voting, not all immigrant groups are represented equally in Parliament or turn out to vote at the same rates. Factors such as the recency of migration, residential and labour market concentration and historical partisanship among specific immigrant groups, along with political parties’ candidate selection decisions, all affect the extent to which immigrants from different source countries have their voices heard in Parliament. I highlight the role that political parties have to play in ensuring that immigrants are represented in New Zealand’s Parliament, and argue such representation is necessary if immigrants are to challenge the conditions that will otherwise lead to their marginalisation.
KeywordsElectoral politics Immigrant voting Representation Participation MMP Ethnic
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