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Redrawing of Electorate Boundaries Soon to Get Underway

MEDIA RELEASE

1 October 2013

Representation Commission

Te Komihana Whakatau Rohe Pōti

Redrawing of Electorate Boundaries Soon to Get Underway

The Representation Commission will soon start its work to redraw the electorate boundaries for use in the 2014 and 2017 general elections.

Under the Electoral Act, the boundaries of the General and Māori electorates must be reviewed after each population census and Māori Electoral Option.

“This is an important step in our electoral process, to ensure electorates have similar population numbers. The Representation Commission’s final decisions may change the electorate or the name of the electorate that some voters are in,” says Representation Commission Chairperson Bernard Kendall.

The Government Statistician will announce the number of General and Māori electorates and the electoral populations on 7 October 2013.

There are currently 70 electorates – 63 General electorates and seven Māori electorates. The number of electorates may change for the 2014 and 2017 general elections.

The overall size of Parliament will not change, however the number of list seats will if there are any changes to the number of electorates.

The Representation Commission will begin meeting to consider the new electorate boundaries on 16 October.

“Changes to New Zealand’s population mean that the number of electorates may change and a number of current electorate boundaries will need to be redrawn,” says Mr Kendall. “Our job is to review the existing electorate boundaries to reflect changes in population.

“We will consider factors such as the existing electorate boundaries, communities of interest generally and specifically amongst members of Māori tribes, communications facilities, topographical features and projected population changes to determine the proposed electorate boundaries,” says Mr Kendall.

The Representation Commission expects to release proposed electorate boundaries for public comment on 21 November 2013. Members of the public will have the opportunity to make objections (submissions) to the proposed electorate boundaries and names from 21 November to 23 December. The Commission will summarise the objections and make them publicly available. Members of the public will be able to make counter objections between 14 and 29 January and the Commission will conduct public hearings in February 2014.

Final electorate boundaries will be released in mid-April 2014.

The 2013/14 Representation Commission members are:
Chairperson Bernard Kendall
Government representative Hon Roger Sowry
Opposition representative Hon Pete Hodgson

When considering Māori electorate boundaries:
Government Māori representative Dan Te Kanawa
Opposition Māori representative Whetu Wereta

The ex-officio members will be:
Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden
Deputy Surveyor-General Anselm Haanen
Deputy Government Statistician Vince Galvin
Chairperson of the Local Government Commission Basil Morrison

When considering the Māori electorate boundaries the ex-officio membership will include:
Chief Executive of Te Puni Kōkiri Michelle Hippolite

ENDS

1 October 2013

2013/14 Representation Commission
Questions and Answers

1. What is the Representation Commission?

The Representation Commission is an independent body convened after every population census and Māori Electoral Option to review and redraw the Parliamentary electorate boundaries.

2. When will the Representation Commission start reviewing the electorate boundaries?

The Commission starts its work 16 October 2013 and will release its proposed boundaries for public comment on Thursday 21 November 2013.

3. Why are the electorate boundaries being redrawn?

Electorate boundaries are redrawn after each population Census to make sure that the number of people in each electorate reflects changes in population and that electorate names remain relevant.
Because of changes to the population between each Census, approximately half of existing electorates are either over or under-populated and many changes to boundaries will result.

4. What is the process for making decisions on the proposed boundaries?

Statistics New Zealand calculates the average population size for electorates following the Census and Māori Electoral Option. The Representation Commission uses these electoral populations to review and redraw electorate boundaries.
The public can make objections and counter objections to the proposed names and boundaries as part of the Representation Commission’s consultation process.

5. How many electorates will there be?

The Government Statistician will release the number of electorates and the electoral populations for the North Island, South Island and Māori electorates on 7 October 2013.

6. What other criteria apply to deciding on the proposed boundaries?

To arrive at the required electoral population, the Representation Commission uses the following criteria to decide each of the electorate boundaries:
• Existing electorate boundaries
• Community of interest
• Communications facilities – including links such as roads and telephone services
• Topographical features – such as mountains and rivers
• Projected variations in electoral populations – particularly large regional changes expected within five years.

In respect of Māori electorates, the Representation Commission uses the above criteria and also takes into account tribal affiliations when deciding the electorate boundaries.

7. How will changes to the number of electorates impact on the size of Parliament?

There are currently 70 electorates – 63 General electorates and seven Māori electorates. The number of electorates may change for the 2014 and 2017 general elections.
The overall size of Parliament will not change, however the number of list seats will if there are any changes to the number of electorates.

8. When will the proposed boundaries be released for public comment?

The Representation Commission will release proposed electorate boundaries for public comment on Thursday 21 November 2013. Objections must be received by 10am Monday 23 December 2013.

9. How do people have their say?

Anyone can make an objection to the proposed boundaries. There is also an opportunity to make a counter objection. Objections must be received by 10am Monday 23 December 2013. People can make an objection online at www.elections.org.nz or write in and make an objection. The Commission will release a summary of objections on 14 January 2014. Counter objections must be received by 5pm Wednesday 29 January 2014. People can make a counter objection online at www.elections.org.nz or write in and make a counter objection.

10. When will the boundaries be finalised?

Final electorate boundaries for the 2014 and 2017 general elections will be released on Thursday 17 April.
11. When will the new electorate boundaries be used?

The electorate boundaries will be used for the next two general elections. If a by-election is held before the next general election the existing boundaries will be used.
12. Who is on the Representation Commission?

The 2013 Representation Commission members are:
• Chairperson, Judge Bernard Kendall
• Government Representative, Hon Roger Sowry
• Opposition Representative, Hon Pete Hodgson
• Chief Electoral Officer, Robert Peden
• Deputy Surveyor General, Anselm Haanen
• Deputy Government Statistician, Vince Galvin
• Chairperson, Local Government Commission, Basil Morrison

When considering the Māori electorate boundaries the membership also includes:
• Government Representative (Māori), Dan Te Kanawa
• Opposition Representative (Māori), Whetu Wereta
• Chief Executive, Te Puni Kōkiri, Michelle Hippolite


13. What are the key dates for the 2013/14 Representation Commission?
21 October Representation Commission begins meeting to set proposed electorate boundaries
21 November 2013 Proposed boundaries released
21 November – 23 December 2013 Objections (public submissions) on proposed boundaries received
14 January 2014 Representation Commission releases summary of objections received
14 – 29 January 2014 Counter objections received
7-19 February 2014 Public hearings of objections and counter objections
17 April 2014 Final electorate boundaries published

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