Proposed new electorate boundaries for the next two general elections have been released for public comment - with 43 electorates facing changes and an additional general electorate in Auckland.
Members of the public and organisations have until 23 December 2013 to review the proposed boundaries and make objections.
“The Representation Commission’s role is to review electorate boundaries to ensure the population in each is broadly the same. Where possible we have tried to retain existing electorate boundaries and avoid splitting communities” says Bernard Kendall, Chair of the Representation Commission.
Areas requiring most change are in Auckland where population has continued to grow and the Christchurch area which has been significantly affected by the Canterbury earthquakes.
The number of general electorates in the Auckland region has increased from 23 to 24. Proposed boundary changes have resulted in the creation of two new electorates: Upper Harbour in north Auckland and Kelston in west Auckland. The existing electorate of Waitakere has been replaced as a result of the proposed boundary changes to the Te Atatū and Helensville electorates and the new Kelston electorate.
Major boundary changes in the Christchurch area were required because of significant population movement from Christchurch East, Christchurch Central and Port Hills electorates. At the same time Waimakariri, Wigram and Selwyn have increased beyond the permitted electoral population limit. The three Christchurch electorates that have lost population have been expanded into Waimakariri and Selwyn, with Port Hills proposed to include all of Banks Peninsula, and Wigram to lose Hei Hei to Selwyn.
No boundary changes in 27 electorates
The Representation Commission is proposing to keep the boundaries of 20 general electorates (seven South Island and 13 North Island) and all seven of the Māori electorates exactly the same because they are within quota.
More detail on all of the proposed changes is available on www.elections.org.nz and in the Proposed Electorate Boundaries 2013 report published by the Representation Commission.
“The proposed electorate boundaries are now available for the public to comment on,” says Mr Kendall. “People can make objections and the Commission will take these into account when deciding the final boundaries.”
Objections close at 10.00 am on Monday 23 December 2013.
“Any objections should be based on the statutory criteria the Commission must use,” says Mr Kendall. “This means that it’s important that people read the reasons for the proposed boundary changes before they make an objection.”
The Commission will summarise the objections and make them publicly available on Tuesday 14 January. The public can then make counter objections until Wednesday 29 January following which the Commission will conduct public hearings in February. Final boundaries will be announced by Easter 2014.
The proposed boundaries can be viewed online at www.elections.org.nz or printed copies can be viewed at libraries, Registrar of Electors’ offices, Council offices or Council service centres, Te Puni Kōkiri regional offices, Māori Land Court offices and Rūnanga offices.