Christchurch boundaries

May 30th, 2013 at 8:44 am by David Farrar

The Press reports:

East could be heading west.

The expected redrawing of Christchurch’s electorate may be the catalyst for further political shakeup in the region after big upsets at the 2011 general election.

In a big turnaround, Labour was rolled in the previously safe Christchurch Central and Waimakariri seats and suffered a dip in its party vote across the city.

Census data collected in March will form the basis for the new-look electorates after the earthquakes triggered significant population shifts from eastern and central Christchurch.

The is expected to release draft boundary changes in November, which should be finalised in April next year after consultation.

All electorates must have about the same population and South Island electorates are fixed at 16.

Christchurch East – the hardest hit by Government red-zoning – could grow to the west and claim chunks of neighbouring Christchurch Central to boost voter numbers.

The changes in Christchurch are likely to be significant, but are quite hard to predict. Before you even look at Christchurch, you have to look at what happens outside Christchurch.

The Representation Commission starts down South, in Invercargill. In previous years the population growth in Invercargill is less than ┬áin the South Island as a whole. This means the electorate has too few people in it and has to grow in size to be within 5% of the average population. That means its boundaries move North. This means Clutha-Southland loses territory to Invercargill, plus is normally under quota itself, so its boundaries move North also – by an even larger amount.

But it is possibly that the depopulation in Christchurch may mean that this time those seats are not under quota. So until we know that, we don’t even know what will happen to the seats outside Christchurch. If it does follow previous occasions, then each rural electorate will move North, and Selwyn will take in more territory on the outskirts of Christchurch. Once you have done that, then you look at how Christchurch City electorates get divided up.

Dalziel said her electorate could have lost up to 10,000 voters.

A move west into central was the obvious change, while heading north to include Kaiapoi and Pegasus was a possibility but less likely because the Waimakariri district was not Christchurch.

Bromley – a former East electorate suburb – could be reclaimed from Port Hills, as well as Linwood and Richmond from Central.

There will be a lot of interest in the outcome.

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8 Responses to “Christchurch boundaries”

  1. toms (301 comments) says:

    The sooner we get rid of the South Island quota (preferably before it breaks MMP) and come up with a better way of calculating the size of electorates the better.

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  2. iMP (2,345 comments) says:

    I’ve been predicting this for 18 months. CHCH EAST will vanish, cannibalised by Waimak, Port Hills and Chch Central electorates which have all lost large numbers of voters (and why national won Chch Central. The Lab. SE areas simply vanished). CEast will be absorbed by those three electorates.

    A new West Chch seat is likely to emerge from the vast Selwyn electorate of Amy Adams centered around Rolleston, Halswell, Templeton and making Selwyn a truly rural seat. West Chch likely to be National, but the redraws will make Waimak, Port Hills, CCentral better for Labour.

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  3. s.russell (1,580 comments) says:

    At a guess (wild), I would say that the boundary changes will be far less radical than people think….

    If the census had been held just a few weeks earlier than scheduled, the day before the Feb quake, what would have happened? The boundaries would have shrunk inward. The effect of the post-quake population loss will be the opposite, and in large part the two will cancel each other out.

    Rather than being abolished, Chch East is likliest to grow in size, as the article suggests, gaining territory/population from Chch Central. Electorates on the western edge will shrink a bit, having gained population.

    Overall, however, the seven Chch electorates (including Selwyn) may end up with much the same footprint they have now.

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  4. iMP (2,345 comments) says:

    Unlikely s.russel. There has been huge displacement in Chch so the boundaries have to alter so the electorates have equal voter numbers as per the Commission formula. The population has shunted west. Rolleston and Halswell, as well as central Wigram (around Ngai Tahu’s new massive subdivision Wigram Skies) is where many of these people have gone. The simpler cut, is to dissolve Chch East and make a new Chch West seat. That is what I think they’ll do (less boundary rejigs).

    The other Chch electorates can be appropriately topped up from the debris of Chch East with an easy redraw using the Avon as a natural boundary. Non-Chch readers can note, that Chch East has actually lost a couple of suburbs, which no longer exist. Much of thos area is going to be purchased by govt and turned in to non-residentail usage.

    Complicating things is Dalziel wants to run for mayor. She does not have to resign frm parl. to do this, but if she does, a by-election is forced. Any labour winner would likely be a very short term MP, perhaps just 1 year before their seat disappeared altogether (if I am right). maybe Aaron Gilmore will put his name forward for Labour, with the slogan ‘You Know Who I Am?”

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  5. iMP (2,345 comments) says:

    Another relevant factor is, that Chch Central does not have the extra votes Chch East would need, as it has lost maybe 5000-10,000 voters itself (essentially the old Labour majority in CC). If you try and save Chch East by cannibalising Chch Central, you simply move the problem west, and Chch Central has to be topped up too.

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  6. s.russell (1,580 comments) says:

    The 2006 census count for Christchurch was 348,435.
    Stats NZ estimates that the population declined by 4600 in the year to June 2012 and by 8900 the previous year.
    But that left the city at 363,200 still 4.2% above what it was in 2006. My guess is that at the very least the population will have stabilised and may well have bounced back over the past year. It could easly by 5% ahead of 2006 by now.

    Now, if all that is roughly correct (and Stats NZ might be completly wrong!) than I think I will be right in projecting that the overall footprint of the Chrictchurch electorates will not change very much. That is because the 4.2-5% growth will about match the overall population growth in the South Island over the same period.

    The question is how big is the internal poulation shift?

    Chch East had an electoral population of 55,804 (based on the 2006 census). Even if it has lost 15,000 people (vs 2006) that is still 40,000 to be distributed among neighbouring electorates. Chch C might be able to absorb a quater or third of that, but not Waimakariri or Port Hills, I suspect, unless there are massive changes to them as well.

    It could be done as iMP describes of course, but I think the less disruptive option will be for Chch East to remain, gaining population from mostly from Chch Central, with a ripple effect moving west and therefater diminishing as it goes. And I think the Representation Commission will chose the least radical plan.

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  7. iMP (2,345 comments) says:

    The actual boundaries are not calculated on the basis of the overall pop of a city but WHERE they reside. So the footprints cannot stay the same, as the population has been massively displaced. The electorates will be completely reshaped to respond to this.

    Put another way, if 70% of people now live in the west of Chch, electorate boundaries will have to adjust with more electorates in West and less in the East (thus Chch East vanishing). That is why a seat like West Coast-Tasman is so long and thin, to envelope the residential voters.

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  8. s.russell (1,580 comments) says:

    Yes, this is why I said “the overall footprint of the Christchurch electorates might not change much. The division between them will change a lot more.

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