Boundary review gets underway
The Representation Commission is about to start work redrawing the electorate boundaries for the 2020 and 2023 general elections.
The Representation Commission is the independent body that reviews and adjusts the boundaries and names of electorates after each population census and Māori Electoral Option.
The number of electorates for the next two general elections was released by the Government Statistician on 23 September. Population growth since the last Census means there will be one new general electorate. The number of North Island general electorates will increase from 48 to 49, the number of South Island general electorates is fixed at 16, and the number of Māori electorates remains at seven.
It will now be up to the Representation Commission to determine the electorate boundaries. Judge Craig Thompson who will chair the Commission says the review is an important part of the electoral process.
“Our job is to review the existing electorate boundaries to reflect the changes in population. This ensures all electorates have about the same number of people living in them so that people have equal representation in Parliament.”
Judge Thompson says the review will begin this month and take six months to complete.
“The public will be able to have their say on the proposed boundaries and electorate names when they are released for public consultation in November.”
There are three stages for public consultation starting with objections, followed by counter-objections and public hearings.
The Representation Commission will consider all submissions before releasing the final boundaries in April 2020. The new boundaries take effect when the current Parliament dissolves.
The members of the Representation Commission are:
- Chair – Judge Craig Thompson
- Surveyor-General – Anselm Haanen
- Deputy Government Statistician – Carol Slappendel
- Chief Electoral Officer – Alicia Wright
- Local Government Commission Chair – Brendan Duffy
- Government representative – Hon Rick Barker
- Opposition representative – Hon Roger Sowry
When considering the Māori electorate boundaries the membership will also include:
- Te Puni Kōkiri Chief Executive – Dave Samuels
- Government Māori representative – Moana Mackey
- Opposition Māori representative – Dan Te Kanawa
The Representation Commission has set the following timetable for the boundary review.
Electorate boundary review 2019/20
21 October 2019 – Representation Commission meets to set proposed boundaries
20 November 2019 - Proposed boundaries released for public comment
20 November to 20 December 2019 - Public can make objections on proposed boundaries
10 to 24 January 2020 - Public can make counter-objections on any objections received
10 to 19 February 2020 - Public hearings of objections and counter-objections
20 April 2020 - Final electorate boundaries released
2020 General Election - New electorate boundaries apply