• Traditional Maori dancers from Destiny Church, New Zealand perform in Washington. (AAP) (Maori)Source: Maori
New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key has sparked conversation after his recent visit to Australia.
Brooke Boney

7 Oct 2013 - 6:23 PM  UPDATED 7 Oct 2013 - 6:29 PM

Mr Key failed to engage in conversation about Indigenous issues with Prime Minister Tony Abbott during his stay this week.

This lack of discussion has triggered an investigation into the differences between Indigenous rights compared to those of the Maori people in New Zealand.

In reality, Maori people face a lot of the same problems Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face here in Australia.

Just like Indigenous people, Maori people also have a lower life expectancy than other Kiwis. They are also less likely to finish secondary education and more likely to face imprisonment.

Although Maori people make up only 14 per cent of the population, they represent almost 50 per cent of the prison population.

Perhaps the greatest difference between Indigenous Australians and Maori people is Parliamentary representation.

In New Zealand, Maori people have seven designated seats to make sure there is enough representation, and the Maori Affairs Minister is a Maori man.

In Canberra there are only two Indigenous people, Nova Peris in the Senate and Ken Wyatt in the Lower House, who have seats in Parliament.

Indigenous people make up about 2.5 per cent of the population. If that ratio was represented in Parliament, there would be at least five seats designated to Indigenous politicians.