One new North Island electorate

Stats NZ has announced that higher population growth in the North Island compared to the South Island will see one extra electorate seat there. This will mean 16 SI seats, 48 NI seats and seven Maori seats. So there will be 71 electorate MPs and (if no overhang) 49 list MPs in the next Parliament.

The number of new seats is well down on what many were expecting, as the long gap between censuses and the expected drop in Christchurch population had most people expecting three new seats.

When MMP started it was 65 electorate seats to 55 list seats, and now will be 71 to 49. At some stage in the future there won’t be enough list seats to retain proportionality unless one has a fixed ratio.

The three quotas for electorate are:

  • SI 59,679 (56,696 to 62,662 5% tolerance)
  • NI 59,731 (56,745 to 62,717)
  • Maori 60,141 (57,134 to 63,148)

Since the 2006 census, the SI electoral population has grown by 3.7%, the NI by 6.6% and the Maori electoral population by just 0.9%.

The seats that are the most over quota and must lose territory are:

  1. Auckland Central 70,406
  2. Hunua 68,951
  3. Helensville 68,026
  4. Selwyn 67,818
  5. Rodney 67,134
  6. Wigram 65,433
  7. Waitaki 64,962
  8. Hamilton East 64,577
  9. Waimakariri 64,454
  10. Wellington Central 64,374
  11. Rangitata 64,142
  12. East Coast Bays 64,005
  13. Maungakiekie 63,274
  14. Epsom 62,990
  15. Tāmaki 62,779
  16. Tauranga 62,741

So those 16 seats must shrink. What seats are under the 5% tolerance and must grow:

  1. Christchurch East 45,967
  2. Port Hills 53,667
  3. East Cost 53,960
  4. Christchurch Central 54,104
  5. Rangitikei 56,364

The other 49 seats can stay the same size in theory. But it is likely many will have some change because of flow on effects from neighbours.

So where might the extra seat be. Well the seats that are most over quota and in the same city are:

  • Auckland Central 70,406
  • Hunua 68,951
  • Helensville 68,026
  • Rodney 67,134
  • East Coast Bays 64,005
  • Maungakiekie 63,274
  • Epsom 62,990
  • Tāmaki 62,779

Those eight seats are together around 50,000 over the quota so the new seat will be in Auckland. Where in Auckland is harder but Rodney, East Coast Bays and Helensville are close together and are around 25,000 over quota so it could well be up around that area.

Auckland Central is the seat that will lose the most territory – it is 18% over quota.

In Christchurch you have Wigram, Selwyn, and Waimakariri 33% over quota combined and Chch East, Central and Port Hills around 42% under quota. So those three electorates will take territory off Wigram, Selwyn and Waimakariri. You will probably also see Selwyn ahift South to take some of the excess from Rangitata and Waitaki.

In Hamilton, Hamilton East is over the tolerance so will lose some territory.

In Wellington, Wellington Central needs to lose 5,000 or so. Ohariu is over quota (but within the 5% tolerance) and Rongotai is on quota. You could just have Rongotai take some territory off WC, but more likely is Ohariu takes some also and Ohariu loses some territory to Hutt South (which is under).

The two Dunedin seats are under quota but within the tolerance. They could grab some territory off Waitaki and Clutha-Southland,

Tauranga needs to lose a bit of territory also. Bay of Plenty also at the max, so East Coast, Coromandel and Rotorua are the logical places to pick up some territory from them.

Rangitikei needs to expand. Rangitikei may take some off Palmie. Whanganui is under quota so if they lost some they would need to take some off TKC who are also under quota so you could have a ripple effect there.

East Coast also needs to expand. Bay of Plenty is the easiest option. Napier is under quota so can’t give up much.

The Surveyor-General will draw up draft boundaries and bring them to the . The Commission will then consider them, modify them and release proposed boundaries. After that there are public submissions and then the Representation Commission will determine the final boundaries early next year.

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