Gender breakdown of presumed government after the 2020 and 2023 elections
Gender breakdown of presumed government after the 2020 and 2023 elections

PoliticsNovember 6, 2023

A National/Act/NZ First government would mean a whole lot of men in charge (again)

Gender breakdown of presumed government after the 2020 and 2023 elections
Gender breakdown of presumed government after the 2020 and 2023 elections

While parliament itself will see small drops in minority representation, the presumed government has some much bigger gaps.

After the 2020 election, there were headlines around the world celebrating the diversity milestones of our new parliament. First was the record number of female MPs (“nearly half”). Then there was the fact that parliament was 10% rainbow (or 12 MPs), a world record at the time. There were MELAA (Middle Eastern/Latin American/African) MPs and a record number of Pacific MPs (11). In government, most of those percentages stayed the same, or even increased.

So how are things looking now with a new set of MPs and a new government on the horizon? We’ve set a new record with a 123-seat parliament so that’s a start. But some of the other numbers aren’t looking so flash.

Disclaimer 1: These percentages are based off 122 MPs. It is expected that National’s Nancy Lu will be an MP after the Waikato byelection.

Disclaimer 2: The 2020 data is based off the results of the 2020 election, not the most recent parliamentary makeup (after MP resignations and byelections).

Disclaimer 3: Ethnicities and sexual orientation have been collected from previously reported data and individual reporting on MPs. There may be MPs who don’t publicly identify a certain way so that would not be reflected in the data.


Thanks to the inevitable shuffling of MPs and various scandals, in November 2022, women held the majority of seats in parliament for the first time in history. That majority lasted just 10 months (or, one pregnancy that’s very overdue).

From the 2023 results, women will make up 45.1% of MPs in the coming term. Were National, Act and NZ First to form a government, women would make up just 34.5% of it. That number would increase ever so slightly with the addition of Nancy Lu. But not by 15%. National in particular has far fewer women than men in its caucus.


There are about 30% more Māori in parliament now than there were after the 2020 election. Despite National (who had a whole one Māori MP after the last election) having the largest share of votes in 2023, the number of Māori MPs in parties has risen across the board except for Labour.

Te Pāti Māori added four new MPs this year, NZ First brings in three Māori MPs, Greens added three and National ended up with five as of today (note: Paul Goldsmith is not Māori). Labour's Māori caucus has dropped from 16 to nine (a bit more on that later).


It's really not looking good for Pacific representation this term. After a record 11 MPs in 2020 (10 from Labour and therefore also in government), there are six in total this year. A large drop but not devastating. What is devastating is that in a National/Act/NZ First government, there would be zero Pacific MPs and one party that wants to abolish the Ministry for Pacific Peoples entirely. Will Judith Collins become the minister for Pacific peoples again? At the moment, she's the closest thing to an actual Pacific person in government.


Aotearoa proudly waved its rainbow flag and celebrated being the most rainbow parliament in the world in 2020. In 2023, not so much. After a record 12 rainbow MPs, this year has seen just five in parliament and just one in the assumed government. Pour one out for Act's Todd Stephenson.

Since 2020, not one, not two, not three but four queer Māori women left their parties in dramatic fashion. Louisa Wall, Meka Whaitiri and Kiri Allan all departed Labour as senior members of the party. And Elizabeth Kerekere left the Greens ranked number three on the list. None of them have returned to parliament in this election (only Whaitiri stood for reelection) and one can't help but wonder what it is that led to such a coincidence of every single queer Māori woman leaving within 18 months of each other.

These categories are certainly not the only markers of diversity. There are very few disabled politicians or working class MPs, for example. But this quick audit offers a clue as to whose voices will be loudest (or even present) when decisions on the country's future are made.

Keep going!