The Representation Commission will release its proposed boundaries on Thursday. I have previously been quite involved with some of the analysis around potential changes, so am looking forward to seeing what is proposed on Thursday.
The previous Commission tried to change boundaries as little as possible by using the 5% tolerance to the maximum. What this means is that changes this time will be quite significant in some areas. If a seat was say 4.5% over quota in 2001, then if it has kept growing it might now be 12% over quota, so will need to lose somewhere between 7% and 17% of its population.
So where will there be changes? 33 of the 69 electorates are more than 5% from the quota (or average). But more than that will change as as those seats gain or lose areas it affects their neighbours. Of the seats which *have* to change two are Maori seats, nine are South Island and 22 are in the North Island. The seats which must change, in order, are:
Manukau East 19.0%
Auckland Central 15.3%
Hamilton East 15.2%
East Coast Bays 13.1%
Port Waikato 11.6%
East Coast -7.9%
West Coast-Tasman -7.5%
Wellington Central 7.2%
Banks Peninsula 6.9%
Hutt South -6.9%
New Plymouth -6.5%
Dunedin North -6.3%
Palmerston North -5.8%
Dunedin South -5.8%
Bay of Plenty 5.7%
Te Tai Hauauru -5.5%
Te Tai Tonga 5.1%
The number is how much over or under they are from the average (quota). The law allows a maximum 5%.
The Maori seats don’t need to change much. Te Tai Tonga loses a bit of territory north of Wellington and Te Tai Hauauru gain a bit of territory.
The South Island will change a lot. Apart from the nine seats over the 5% tolerance, other seats like Otago and Nelson will be affected by the flow on effects. The only seats which do not have to change are Kaikoura, Ilam, Chch Central and Chch East, but even they may do so.
A big example of the flow on effect we get from the bottom of the SI. Invercargill is under by 10% needs to gain between 3,000 and 9,000 to be within the 5%. Let’s say they go for the centre – 6,000. This means they take 6,000 off Clutha-Southland which itself is 12% under. So CS takes say 12,500 off Otago. The Dunedin seats also take 5,000 off Otago which means Otago has no choice but to take 17,000 or so of Aoraki. Aoraki was already 8% under or 4,500 short so has no choice but to take over 20,000 or over 40% of Rakaia off Rakaia. Rakaia in turn will take territory off Banks Peninsula, Waimakariri and maybe parts of Chch. I doubt the new Rakaia will be much like the existing one. Ashburton may in fact be cut in half with some in Aoraki and some in Rakaia, possibly both renamed.
Wellington doesn’t change too much. Rongotai is on quota, WC 7% over quota so will lose maybe a bit of Newtown to Rongotai but also some territory to Ohariu-Belmont. Maybe Wadestown? Hutt South is 7% under quota so may grab some land off OB, or even Rimutaka but not a lot.Mana and Otaki are within 5% so may not change, but Mana might grab some southern territory off Otaki.
Wairarapa is 10% under and can only grab land off Tukituki. Tukituki may then need to grab a bit off Napier or Rangitikei. Not major movements I expect.
Rangitikei and Whanganui are both under quota so unless they grab in Mt Ruapehu, will see Whanganui move north past Hawera close to New Plymouth. New Plymouth will also grab some land off TKC which I think has to move north close to Hamilton.
In the middle of the NI Taupo and Rotorua are both under quota so the logical expansions are to the north, some nice rural areas.
Over in the BoP East Coast is under quota so will move north closer to Te Puke. BoP is over quota so may not move much, same with Tauranga. All depends on their neighbours.
For now I will leave off Auckland, going down to Port Waikato, as the location of the new seat will be the major factor. For an idea of where it might be well the two biggest seats over quota are Clevedon and Manukau East at 19% each. But it could also be South Auckland more with Manurewa at 14% over and Mangere at 12%,
Finally up North, Northland need not change, and same for Whangarei. Rodney is 8% over though, as is East Coast Bays at 13% and Helensville at 9%. So I suspect all those seats may move North a bit.
But boundaries are notoriously hard to pick. It all depends on how much use the Commission makes of the 5% tolerances. Do they use them to the max like the last Commission or do they try and get as many seats as possible close to dead on the quota. Also many seats have four or five neighbouring seats and how those ones are done can affects dozens of others.
Finally the boundaries are only proposed. Once public they call for submissions and then objections to the submissions, before making final decisions. And the submission definitely do change things, or have in the past.