New Zealand electorates
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An electorate is a geographical constituency used for electing members to the New Zealand Parliament. In informal discussion, electorates are often called seats. The most formal description, electoral district, is used in legislation. The size of electorates is determined on a population basis such that all electorates have approximately the same population.
Before 1996, all members of Parliament were directly chosen for office by the voters of an electorate. In 2014 under the MMP electoral system, 71 of the usually 120 seats in Parliament were filled by electorate members, with the remainder being filled from party lists in order to achieve proportional representation (there were 69 electorates in 2005, and 70 electorates in the 2008 and 2011 elections). The 71 electorates are made up from 64 general and seven Māori electorates.
Originally, electorates were drawn up based on political and social links, with little consideration for differences in population. The New Zealand House of Representatives was originally modelled on the electoral procedures used for the British House of Commons, where there were both single-member electorates (electorates returning just one MP) and multi-member electorates (electorates returning more than one MP). Each electorate was allocated a different number of MPs (up to three) in order to balance population differences. All electorates used a plurality voting system. From 1881, a special country quota meant that rural seats were allowed to contain fewer people than urban seats, preserving the inequality and over-representing farmers. For the 1905 election the multi-member electorates were abolished. The quota system persisted until 1945.
Today, electorate boundaries are determined by the Representation Commission. The Commission consists of:
- Four government officials—the Government Statistician, the Surveyor-General, the Chief Electoral Officer, and the Chairperson of the Local Government Commission.
- A representative of the governing party or coalition, and a representative of the opposition block.
- A chairperson (often a judge) nominated by the other members, with the exception of Chairperson of the Local Government Commission.
Boundaries are reviewed after each New Zealand census, which normally occurs every five years. The South Island is guaranteed to have 16 general seats, and dividing the number of persons in the South Island's general electoral population by 16 determines the South Island Quota which is then used to calculate the number of Māori electorates and North Island electorates. The number of māori electorates are determined by the Māori Electoral Option where Māori voters can opt to be in either a māori electorate or a general electorate. The percentage of Māori voters opting for the māori roll determines the percentage of the whole Māori population (of persons claiming Māori ancestry at the previous census) which is then divided by the South Island Quota to calculate the number of māori seats. South Island Māori opting for the general roll are included in the population on which the South Island Quota is established. The North Island population (including Māori opting for the general roll) being divided into electorates of approximately the same population as the South Island ones. Electorates may vary by no more than 5% of the average population size. This has caused the number of list seats in Parliament to decline as the population is experiencing "northern drift" (i.e. the population of the North Island, especially around Auckland, is growing faster than that of the South Island) due to both internal migration and immigration.
Because of the increasing North Island population, the North Island was awarded an additional electoral seat beginning in the 2008 general election. Another North Island seat was created for the 2014 general election. Each time, the need for an extra seat was determined from the results of the most recent census, with the seat coming out of the total number of list seats. The total number of list seats has thus declined from 51 to 49 since 2007.
Although the New Zealand Parliament is intended to have 120 members, recent iterations have exceeded this quantity. Due to some parties winning more electorate seats than their proportion of the party vote suggests, overhang seats have awarded. In 2005 and 2011, 121 members were elected; 122 members were elected in 2008.
The Representation Commission determines the names of each electorate following the most recent census. An electorate may be named after a geographic region, landmark (e.g. a mountain) or main population centre. The Commission adopts compass point names when there is not a more suitable name. The compass point reference usually follows the name of the main population centre, e.g. Hamilton East.
Over the years, there have been two types of "special" electorates created for particular communities. The first were special goldminers' electorates, created for participants in the Otago Goldrush — goldminers did not usually meet the residency and property requirements in the electorate they were prospecting in, but were numerous enough to warrant political representation. Two goldminers' electorates existed, the first began in 1863 and both ended in 1870.
Much more durable have been the Māori electorates, created in 1868 to give separate representation to Māori citizens. Although originally intended to be temporary, they came to function as reserved positions for Māori, ensuring that there would always be a Māori voice in Parliament. Until 1996 the number of Māori electorates was fixed at four, significantly under-representing Māori in Parliament. In 1975 the definition of who could opt to register on either the general or the māori roll was expanded to include all persons of Māori descent. Previously all persons of more than 50% Māori ancestry were on the māori roll while persons of less than 50% Māori ancestry were required to enrol on the then European roll. Only persons presumed to have equal Māori and European ancestry (so-called half-castes) had a choice of roll. Since the introduction of MMP, the number of seats can change with the number of Māori voters who choose to go on the Māori roll rather than the general roll.
Electorates in the 51st New Zealand Parliament
This table shows the electorates as they are represented, as of 28 March 2015, during the 51st New Zealand Parliament.
|Auckland Central||Kaye, NikkiNikki Kaye||National||inner-city Auckland and Hauraki Gulf islands||486 km2 (188 sq mi)|
|Bay of Plenty||Muller, ToddTodd Muller||National||central Bay of Plenty coast||776 km2 (300 sq mi)|
|Botany||Ross, Jami-LeeJami-Lee Ross||National||east Auckland||35 km2 (14 sq mi)|
|Christchurch Central||Wagner, NickyNicky Wagner||National||inner city Christchurch||32 km2 (12 sq mi)|
|Christchurch East||Williams, PotoPoto Williams||Labour||eastern Christchurch||91 km2 (35 sq mi)|
|Clutha-Southland||Barclay, ToddTodd Barclay||National||Southland region (excluding Invercargill) and south Otago and parts of Central Otago||37,499 km2 (14,478 sq mi)|
|Coromandel||Simpson, ScottScott Simpson||National||Coromandel Peninsula and Hauraki Plains||4,838 km2 (1,868 sq mi)|
|Dunedin North||Clark, DavidDavid Clark||Labour||central and north Dunedin||2,157 km2 (833 sq mi)|
|Dunedin South||Curran, ClareClare Curran||Labour||south Dunedin and east Dunedin||2,678 km2 (1,034 sq mi)|
|East Coast||Tolley, AnneAnne Tolley||National||Wairoa, Gisborne, eastern Bay of Plenty||13,814 km2 (5,334 sq mi)|
|East Coast Bays||McCully, MurrayMurray McCully||National||northeastern North Shore City||47 km2 (18 sq mi)|
|Epsom||Seymour, DavidDavid Seymour||ACT||east-central Auckland||20 km2 (7.7 sq mi)|
|Hamilton East||Bennett, DavidDavid Bennett||National||east Hamilton||40 km2 (15 sq mi)|
|Hamilton West||Tim Macindoe||National||west Hamilton||82 km2 (32 sq mi)|
|Helensville||Key, JohnJohn Key||National||northwest Auckland urban fringe||1,408 km2 (544 sq mi)|
|Hunua||Bayly, AndrewAndrew Bayly||National||Franklin, rural districts south of Auckland.||1,028 km2 (397 sq mi)|
|Hutt South||Mallard, TrevorTrevor Mallard||Labour||southern Hutt Valley||338 km2 (131 sq mi)|
|Ilam||Brownlee, GerryGerry Brownlee||National||western Christchurch||27 km2 (10 sq mi)|
|Invercargill||Dowie, SarahSarah Dowie||National||Invercargill, peripheral towns and Stewart Island/Rakiura||5,495 km2 (2,122 sq mi)|
|Kaikōura||Smith, StuartStuart Smith||National||Marlborough, Kaikoura and north Canterbury||21,677 km2 (8,370 sq mi)|
|Kelston||Sepuloni, CarmelCarmel Sepuloni||Labour||Glen Eden, Sunnyvale, Glendene, Kelston, New Lynn, and Avondale||26 km2 (10 sq mi)|
|Mana||Faafoi, KrisKris Faafoi||Labour||Porirua city and southern Kapiti Coast||314 km2 (121 sq mi)|
|Mangere||Sio, WilliamWilliam Sio||Labour||Mangere, south Auckland||56 km2 (22 sq mi)|
|Manukau East||Salesa, JennyJenny Salesa||Labour||Otara and eastern Manukau city||23 km2 (8.9 sq mi)|
|Manurewa||Wall, LouisaLouisa Wall||Labour||central and southern Manukau city||34 km2 (13 sq mi)|
|Maungakiekie||Lotu-Iiga, SamSam Lotu-Iiga||National||south east suburbs of Auckland city||35 km2 (14 sq mi)|
|Mt Albert||Ardern, JacindaJacinda Ardern||Labour||west-central Auckland||20 km2 (7.7 sq mi)|
|Mt Roskill||Wood, MichaelMichael Wood||Labour||south-western Auckland city||21 km2 (8.1 sq mi)|
|Napier||Nash, StuartStuart Nash||Labour||city of Napier and northern Hawkes Bay||9,536 km2 (3,682 sq mi)|
|Nelson||Smith, NickNick Smith||National||city of Nelson||536 km2 (207 sq mi)|
|New Lynn||Cunliffe, DavidDavid Cunliffe||Labour||West Auckland||24 km2 (9.3 sq mi)|
|New Plymouth||Young, JonathanJonathan Young||National||city of New Plymouth and Waitara||1,017 km2 (393 sq mi)|
|North Shore||Barry, MaggieMaggie Barry||National||south east North Shore||25 km2 (9.7 sq mi)|
|Northcote||Jonathan Coleman||National||south west North Shore||27 km2 (10 sq mi)|
|Northland||Peters, WinstonWinston Peters||New Zealand First||Northland outside of Whangarei||11,552 km2 (4,460 sq mi)|
|Ōhariu||Dunne, PeterPeter Dunne||United Future||north Wellington||116 km2 (45 sq mi)|
|Ōtaki||Guy, NathanNathan Guy||National||Horowhenua and northern Kapiti Coast||1,429 km2 (552 sq mi)|
|Pakuranga||Williamson, MauriceMaurice Williamson||National||east Auckland||23 km2 (8.9 sq mi)|
|Palmerston North||Lees-Galloway, IainIain Lees-Galloway||Labour||city of Palmerston North||46 km2 (18 sq mi)|
|Papakura||Judith Collins||National||Papakura and parts of Franklin district, Auckland.||238 km2 (92 sq mi)|
|Port Hills||Dyson, RuthRuth Dyson||Labour||south east Christchurch and port of Lyttelton||92 km2 (36 sq mi)|
|Rangitata||Goodhew, JoJo Goodhew||National||South Canterbury||6,087 km2 (2,350 sq mi)|
|Rangitīkei||McKelvie, IanIan McKelvie||National||northern Manawatu and inland Whanganui region.||12,499 km2 (4,826 sq mi)|
|Rimutaka||Hipkins, ChrisChris Hipkins||Labour||northern Hutt Valley||509 km2 (197 sq mi)|
|Rodney||Mitchell, MarkMark Mitchell||National||Hibiscus Coast, Wellsford and Warkworth||721 km2 (278 sq mi)|
|Rongotai||King, AnnetteAnnette King||Labour||southern and eastern suburbs of Wellington; Chatham Islands||836 km2 (323 sq mi)|
|Rotorua||McClay, ToddTodd McClay||National||Rotorua District and Kawerau||3,075 km2 (1,187 sq mi)|
|Selwyn||Adams, AmyAmy Adams||National||western Christchurch urban fringe and Ashburton||8,450 km2 (3,260 sq mi)|
|Tāmaki||O'Connor, SimonSimon O'Connor||National||eastern suburbs of Auckland city||25 km2 (9.7 sq mi)|
|Taranaki-King Country||Kuriger, BarbaraBarbara Kuriger||National||northern Taranaki towns, King Country and Te Awamutu||13,053 km2 (5,040 sq mi)|
|Taupō||Upston, LouiseLouise Upston||National||Taupo, Turangi, South Waikato and Ruapehu districts||9,107 km2 (3,516 sq mi)|
|Tauranga||Bridges, SimonSimon Bridges||National||central Tauranga and Mount Maunganui||59 km2 (23 sq mi)|
|Te Atatu||Twyford, PhilPhil Twyford||Labour||Te Atatu peninsula and Henderson, west Auckland||30 km2 (12 sq mi)|
|Tukituki||Foss, CraigCraig Foss||National||Hastings and southern Hawkes Bay||4,285 km2 (1,654 sq mi)|
|Upper Harbour||Bennett, PaulaPaula Bennett||National||Massey to Glenfield||35 km2 (14 sq mi)|
|Waikato||Tisch, LindsayLindsay Tisch||National||north Waikato||4,231 km2 (1,634 sq mi)|
|Waimakariri||Doocey, MattMatt Doocey||National||northwest Christchurch, Rangiora and Kaiapoi||1,751 km2 (676 sq mi)|
|Wairarapa||Scott, AlastairAlastair Scott||National||Wairarapa, Tararua District||11,931 km2 (4,607 sq mi)|
|Waitaki||Dean, JacquiJacqui Dean||National||north and parts of central Otago||33,350 km2 (12,880 sq mi)|
|Wellington Central||Robertson, GrantGrant Robertson||Labour||inner-city Wellington||144 km2 (56 sq mi)|
|West Coast-Tasman||O'Connor, DamienDamien O'Connor||Labour||West Coast, Murchison and north Nelson regional coast||32,857 km2 (12,686 sq mi)|
|Whanganui||Borrows, ChesterChester Borrows||National||city of Wanganui and south Taranaki coast||5,766 km2 (2,226 sq mi)|
|Whangarei||Reti, ShaneShane Reti||National||city of Whangarei||1,512 km2 (584 sq mi)|
|Wigram||Woods, MeganMegan Woods||Labour||south west Christchurch||37 km2 (14 sq mi)|
|Hauraki-Waikato||Mahuta, NanaiaNanaia Mahuta||Labour||Waikato, including Coromandel||12,299 km2 (4,749 sq mi)|
|Ikaroa-Rawhiti||Whaitiri, MekaMeka Whaitiri||Labour||East Cape, Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa and the Hutt Valley||30,834 km2 (11,905 sq mi)|
|Tamaki Makaurau||Henare, PeeniPeeni Henare||Labour||central and southern Auckland||575 km2 (222 sq mi)|
|Te Tai Hauauru||Rurawhe, AdrianAdrian Rurawhe||Labour||South Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui and the Kapiti Coast||35,760 km2 (13,810 sq mi)|
|Te Tai Tokerau||Davis, KelvinKelvin Davis||Labour||Northland, north and west Auckland||15,493 km2 (5,982 sq mi)|
|Te Tai Tonga||Tirikatene, RinoRino Tirikatene||Labour||Wellington, the South Island, Stewart Island/Rakiura and the Chatham Islands||153,928 km2 (59,432 sq mi)|
|Waiariki||Flavell, Te UruroaTe Ururoa Flavell||Māori||Bay of Plenty and Taupo||19,217 km2 (7,420 sq mi)|
- "Electoral Act 1993 No 87 (as at 01 July 2016), Public Act Contents". www.legislation.govt.nz. New Zealand Legislation. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
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