“It is totally unsatisfactory to be determining electorate boundaries that can effectively determine who will be the next Government on the basis of guesswork.”
Smith said the 2020 election should be conducted on the basis of the existing boundaries from the 2013 census, and then a new census carried out in 2021 so the following elections could use new boundaries.
He said National was not ruling out “alternative action” if this did not happen but would not elaborate on what this might be.
The National Party would have the power to effectively torpedo the Representation Commission, or settle the matter in court.
I strongly support this also. A non completion rate of 10% or greater is too high too trust the data for electoral boundaries.
Also holding the next census in 2021 will get back to the traditional pattern of being in a year ending with a 1 or a 6 which the Christchurch earthquakes disrupted. This will help with long-term comparisons.
If the Government refuses to see sense on this, National can prevent the Representation Commission from functioning. The Commission is only quorate so long as both the Government and Opposition nominated members are present. If the opposition nominee refused to attend, then the Commission could not legally make any decisions.
Hopefully it won’t come to that and National and Labour will work out a sensible solution that means everyone has confidence in the boundaries data.