Each electorate must have an electoral population that is within +/- 5 percent of its electoral population quota.
The Representation Commission decides the electorate boundaries using the following criteria:
- existing electorate boundaries
- community of interest – including tribal affiliations for Māori electorates
- communications facilities – including links such as roads and telephone services
- topographical features – such as mountains and rivers
- projected variations in electoral populations – particularly large regional changes expected within five years.
In respect of Māori electorates, the Representation Commission uses the above criteria and also takes into account tribal affiliations when deciding the electorate boundaries.
Can the public have a say on the proposed electorate boundaries?
The public can make objections and counter-objections to the proposed names and boundaries as part of the Representation Commission's public consultation process.
People can make written objections to the proposed boundaries or suggest alternatives. These boundary objections will be summarised and published.
The public then has two weeks to make counter-objections to any objection received for the proposed boundaries.
The Representation Commission meets to hear the objections and counter-objections before making final decisions.
Final electoral boundaries
The Representation Commission produces its final report on the names and boundaries of electorates after considering any objections and counter-objections. The Commission publishes a notice, stating that it has determined the electorate names and boundaries and where this information can be found. These become the electorates for general elections until the Commission reviews them again.