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New electorate boundaries

Written By: - Date published: 9:05 am, April 20th, 2020 - 37 comments
Categories: act, election 2020, national, paul goldsmith, political parties, Politics, uncategorized - Tags: ,

I missed it, but we got the new electorate boundaries on Friday. Now electorate boundaries simply don’t matter as much as they used to because of MMP. These days mostly the only people who notice them are electorate MPs (or wannabe electorate MPs), political parties that are too close to the 5% list party boundary, and of course sock-puppet parties like Act and their National party hand. Plus of course political blog sites.

auckland boundary changes - annoying gif
    Auckland boundary changes – annoying gif

The Electoral Commission page on the released boundaries is reasonably extensive – complete with some really irritating animations that don’t quite show enough detail. The PDF maps are here – also with limited detail (street names would be helpful). The submissions on the proposed changes (always a source of amusement) are here.

Updated: Alice Tectonite points out a Zoomable clickable map of the changes:

RNZ describes the changes thus:-

Boundaries of 30 general electorates and 11 names have been changed, with the most boundary changes in Auckland, Waikato, Otago, Southland, and Christchurch.

This includes a redraw of the fastest growing electorate, Selwyn, which loses the Banks Peninsula area to the former Port Hills electorate – which has now renamed Banks Peninsula.

The new South Auckland electorate is called Takanini, rather than the initially proposed Flat Bush, and draws population from Manurewa, the former Hunua electorate, and Papakura and includes Wattle Downs and Takanini.

To move population southwards to create the new electorate consequential changes have been made to Mt Roskill, Maungakiekie, Manukau East and Manurewa.

The number of Maori electorates remains at seven, but five boundaries have changed, including Tāmaki Makaurau gaining an area around Te Atatū South from Te Tai Tokerau and an area to the east of Manurewa and Waiheke Island from Hauraki-Waikato.

A minor adjustment between Ikaroa-Rāwhiti and Te Tai Tonga has also been made in Naenae.

Other name changes include Rodney is renamed Whangaparāoa, Hunua becomes Port Waikato, and Dunedin South becomes Taieri.

For me, I’m pleased to say that I will still be voting for Jacinda Ardern as my electorate MP. Mount Albert won’t be changing its boundaries for the next two elections. Nor will Auckland Central.

Most of the Auckland isthmus changes don’t look too extreme. From my rough look at the changes in Mt Roskill, I can’t see anything changing. Probably why there were no objections at all.

Act had this amusing vignette as an objection to the Epsom electorate boundaries.

I write on behalf of the ACT Party in response to the Commission’s proposed Electoral Boundaries released on 20 November.
In my earlier letter dated 7 October, I argued for the boundaries of the Epsom Electorate to remain the same. I won’t rehearse the reasons given in that letter, but continue to stand by them.
On behalf of ACT, I’d like to express strong support for the Commission’s proposal to retain the Electorate’s current boundaries. We will continue to argue for this decision if it is contested in the first round of submissions.
ACT does not currently wish to express a view on other boundary decisions for other electorates.

Firstly, I wonder what was in the 7th October letter? Secondly, it really does show just how sensitive that Act is to any real change. Labour and Green voters in Epsom between them nearly made it a 3 way race last time. Despite all of his attempts to deter being elected as the local MP, Paul Goldsmith, the erstwhile but very reluctant National candidate, nearly became prey to the joys of being a electorate MP.

Personally having had a good look at the demographics in Epsom a few times, I can’t see any real hope of the electorate with that proportion of directors, bankers, finance people, and hairdressers voting left. Realistically Labour and Green voters should hold their noses and tactically vote for a National MP for the next election while giving their party vote to the party of their choice. I’m sure that Paul Goldsmith will welcome the seat 😈

Anyway, feel free to write comments on how the electoral changes will affect your area.

37 comments on “New electorate boundaries ”

  1. Carolyn_Nth 1

    the boundary changes most affect south and west Auckland.

    I used to work across the Hibiscus Coast north Rodney (Warkworth & Wellsford) regions (as named in the Auckland Council local boards and wards). The "Rodney" name was a confusing muddle between the electorate names and council names. This confused even some local residents.

    The Council Rodney Board includes Kumeu, Helensville, Wellsford and Warkworth.

    The Council Hibiscus Coast ward includes Orewa and Whangaparāoa.

    But the electorate Rodney name included Orewa, and I think Whangaparāoa.

    So it is really sensible to rename the Rodney electorate ward with a clear local identification.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    We will soon have to address the total number of MPs if we want to retain proportionality via the list MPs.

    • lprent 2.1

      Yeah, after this 2020 election, we will probably have 72 electorate MPs and 48 list MPs.

      We started in 2006 1996 with 60 of each. We don't need to be 50% electorate vs 50% list. But there does need to be enough list voters to prevent the kind of gerrymandering that the National party under Muldoon specialised in actually affecting the election results by electing minority supported governments and gifting them with real majorities.

      The electorates are roughly about 50k possible voters (I'd have to look up the actual amount – complicated by the South Island 19th century distortion, so it is pretty apparent that we've had fats population growth.

      I think that the best way would be to fix the list MP representation as a percentage of the house MPs. It will be about 40% after 2020.

      edit: Thanks to Craig H I corrected my awful mistake on the date – I blame the poor quality coffee I brought two weeks ago when the shelves were bare of drinkable beans.

      • Andre 2.1.1

        We've currently got that weird requirement for there to be a certain number of South Island electorates. So we just add more North Island electorates as our population biases ever more northwards.

        To keep list MPs at a reasonable proportion of parliament in order to guarantee MMP proportionality, we'll need to either remove that specific number of South Island electorates, or increase the number of MPs.

        Personally I'd rather increase the number of MPs. To me it seems proportionality is too valuable to sacrifice, and I'm not that bothered by the small cost of carrying some dead wood MPs. The real work of Parliament mostly gets done by a handful of genuinely capable MPs, and a bigger parliament increases the chances of adding a few more of the capable ones.

        • Craig H 2.1.1.1

          Setting electorate size based on one of the islands is our historic method – in early times, the South Island grew faster than the North Island, so the system set a fixed number of North Island electorates and added South Island electorates as population grew.

      • Craig H 2.1.2

        We started in 1996 with 60 general electorate MPs and 4 Maori electorate MPs, and 56 list MPs, which was a ratio of 8/15 electorate/list. Our current ratio is 9/15.

        Agree that we need to go back to that level of proportionality, which would mean increasing Parliament to 135, as 72/135 = 8/15.

    • Phil 2.2

      the total number of MPs

      How much room is there in the chamber for more of those huge desks?

      I cannot decisde if it would be the best or the worst to get rid of them and have our MP's rammed in side by side like in the UK 🙂

      • ScottGN 2.2.1

        I wish our chamber was designed like the House of Commons. Canberra and Ottawa are both like that. Our Debating Chamber is set out the same as the Australian State and Canadian Provincial chambers.

    • gingercrush 2.3

      The number of MPs is fine. I realise we lose a proportion of list MPs but this only affects the major parties since they get the electorate seats.

  3. ScottGN 3

    Luckily I continue to be right on the border of Mt Albert and Epsom. In September I’ll be in the booth lickity-split to give 2 ticks for the Hon. Member for Mt Albert and her party.

    • Sanctuary 3.1

      Who would want to be running against Jacinda this year in Mt. Albert….

      • lprent 3.1.1

        Ah but think of the publicity for the narcissistic opportunists and main party candidates with high list profiles. I remember that Helen Clark always used to have full lists assembled against her for no obvious electoral reasons.

        We used to use them like the police use animal rights activists – training and target practice. I did a lot of number and organisational work in Mt Albert / Owairaka electorate campaigns from 1991 until after the by-election in 2009.

        We always ran pretty extremely targeted electorate vote campaigns regardless of how popular she was. Was good for testing electorate level techniques, training people to go out to other electorates and kicking up party votes.

  4. ScottGN 4

    I believe the current split (With this new Auckland seat) is 72 constituency seats (including the Maori seats) and 48 list seats. I wonder what the minimum number of list seats is before proportionality is affected detrimentally?

    • lprent 4.1

      When I did a look at other countries and played with the maths and sims when it came out.

      You start seeing potential theoretical issues at about 30-35% list with major parties – effectively with more rigidity in possible candidates. The best effect of the list inside a major party has been to retain good MPs in marginal seats while also allowing new candidates to be introduced on the list in reasonable positions. It took a long time for our major parties to start to work their lists to do those things better.

      Most of the time you're perfectly ok at 25-30% on a inter-party basis. The 5% threshold and one electorate seat dragging in a minor party are actually worse distortions of the popular vote.

  5. Alice Tectonite 5

    Zoomable clickable map of the changes:

    https://vote.nz/map/index.html?id=7

    • clare 5.1

      yes, that map has been there all along. it's not good enough to use for electorate purposes though. the best maps were published for the 2014 election, crystal clear and with all the streets named.

      maintaining delivery blocks needs good maps. labour connect is just appalling in that respect. ( as in many others )

  6. Dot 6

    Yes dropping the name Rodney as an electorate is a big improvement,

    Whangapraoa and Kaipara ki maharangi, make much more sense with clearer local identification names.

    I also prefer the use of Maori names.

  7. Ad 7

    Clutha will not be easy to keep for Labour, in Labour's third term. Maybe with the tide full under Jacinda's second term, but after that …

    The Takanini seat looks like a gimme for National.

    The New Lynn seat now across the whole of the Waitakere Ranges will be on balance harder. The rural-peripheral outside of the forest are pretty hard core Nats.

    I'd be interested in Southland commentators on whether the shift around Invercargill makes Labour's electorate chances just slightly better.

    • Westiechick 7.1

      The change to New Lynn is really good for the people of Laingholm, Parau and Huia who had been disenfranchised by having their "local" MP in Helensville – an hour's drive away.

    • ScottGN 7.2

      I’m guessing you mean the new seat of Dunedin Ad?

      What was Dunedin South has, with every boundary change since MMP become a little more difficult for Labour to hold.

      This time though Balclutha had been added to the seat which may offset the loss of Otago Peninsula to Dunedin North and the increasingly rural nature of the seat overall.

      Dunedin North, by the way, must surely be one of Labour’s safest seats now. Assuming Clark is a goner, it will be interesting to see what Labour does there.

      I doubt whether the changes to Invercargill will make a lot of difference. It seems a straight up swap of one rural part of the seat for another.

      • ScottGN 7.2.1

        I mean the new seat of Taieri!

        • Ad 7.2.1.1

          No I saw some boundary shifts around Invercargill as well.

          I didn't know Balclutha was Labour-leaning, but that;s good to hear.

          • ScottGN 7.2.1.1.1

            Clutha Southland had a swing of about 13% to Labour last election. One of the biggest Nat to Lab swings on election night. A lot of that was Queenstown but also Gore and Balclutha.

            I think Invercargill has just picked up some of the old Clutha-Southland to the west, over by Tuatapere and Te Waewae Bay, reliably Nat voting I would have thought.

            • gingercrush 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes solid National voting there. Not sure the electorate should be called Invercargill anymore. Would have been better with a new name.

          • swordfish 7.2.1.1.2

            Balclutha & Milton both Nat-leaning (Candidate-vote & Party-vote)

            2017

            Balclutha

            (Party-Vote):

            Green 72

            Lab 1046

            NZF 291

            (Govt Bloc 1409)

            Nat 1521

            .

            (Candidate-Vote)

            Lab 866

            Nat 1519

            Milton

            (Party-Vote)

            Green 19

            Lab 225

            NZF 70

            (Govt Bloc 314)

            Nat 381

            .

            (Candidate-Vote)

            Lab 194

            Nat 361

    • swordfish 7.3

      Ad

      The New Lynn seat now across the whole of the Waitakere Ranges will be on balance harder. The rural-peripheral outside of the forest are pretty hard core Nats

      From brief glance (and focussing only on the Party-Vote)::

      New Lynn = little difference I'd say.

      Loses the fairly evenly-divided (slightly Tory-leaning) New Windsor area, gains the fairly evenly-divided southern end of Helensville.

      (Laingholm = Nats largest Party but Lab+Green ahead & Govt Bloc well ahead, Huia = mildly Left-leaning, Waiatarua similar to Laingholm, Piha = fairly soildly Left-leaning. Henderson Valley = Nats ahead but evenly-divided Govt vs Oppo, Waitakere = Nats ahead but Lab+Green vs Nats evenly-divided & Govt Bloc clearly ahead.)

      Depends to some extent on degree of strategic voting for Russell by Greens / NZFers.

      Takanini = Blue as a New Tattoo

      • Ad 7.3.1

        My experience campaigning there was that Titirangi was reasonably hard work. They are all PC to your face, but they vote with their equity.

        New Windsor had very reliable Indian, Sri Lankan, and Pakistani loyalists – who were also well served by Phil Goff when they were in the Mt Roskill electorate.

      • swordfish 7.3.2

        The new Taieri Seat: only mildly more marginal … still clearly a Labour seat.

        New Seat loses the Otago Peninsula booths with a roughly 200 vote Lab margin over the Nats (2017 Party-Vote) (albeit sizeable Green party-vote, some of whom would've split for the Labour Candidate)

        (Note: Quick squiz at the Candidate-Vote: looks like a 500 margin for Curran in OP booths – clearly some strategic voting from Greens / NZF … as well as minority Nat support)

        Nats were around 700 ahead of Labour in the newly-acquired Clutha booths (mainly the towns of Balclutha & Milton) (2017 Party-Vote).

        Curran had an 8717 majority.

        • ScottGN 7.3.2.1

          Curran’s majority of course forged in South Dunedin, Calton Hill and out towards Green Island and Abbotsford. Which are all still in the seat.

          • swordfish 7.3.2.1.1

            Yes, Caversham, South Dunedin, Concord, Corstorphine, Musselburgh, Green Island are all strongholds.

            During the Key years, incidentally, the Abbotsford / Green Island area swung dramatically towards the Nats, producing some of the largest swings away from Labour in the entire Country. Don’t know why. Was it Key ? … was it Curran ?

        • swordfish 7.3.2.2

          Taieri

          So, in terms of the Candidate-Vote … looks like Labour's Curran (former Dunedin South) enjoyed a roughly 500 vote margin in the lost Otago Peninsula booths …

          … while National's Walker (Clutha-Southland) was around 1000 votes ahead of his Lab rival in the newly-acquired Clutha booths (almost entirely the towns of Balclutha & Milton, except for a few smallish rural booths)

          Curran's (2017) majority was 8717.

          So the upshot of it all: the boundary changes will certainly shave a chunk off the majority (all things being equal) … but still a solidly Labour seat I’d say.

  8. Cinny 8

    There are many happy people in Brightwater who will no longer have Dr custard (nick smith) as their MP.

    Welcome to the West Coast – Tasman electorate Brightwater 🙂

    Only 12 submissions were received against this boundary change, all have been made public and most of them wanted the West Coast to join the Canterbury electorates.

    And to think Dr custard used to live in Brightwater, I guess he was expecting more than half a dozen people to disagree with Brightwater changing electorates and losing him as their MP. He must have made an impression 🙂

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/121084317/commission-confirms-brightwater-move-from-nelson-to-west-coasttasman-electorate

  9. Muttonbird 9

    Went from a Nat electorate to a Labour one overnight!

    With Panmure, Tamaki and Mt Wellington shaved off into Otahuhu, Otara and Papatoetoe, this leaves Maugakiekie an easy run for Denise Lee, and also probably makes Jenny Salesa’s job slightly harder.

    Genuine question. Is the Electoral Commission run from the National Party head office?

  10. RedBaronCV 10

    Winning an electorate seat brings some extra funding to run it does it not? I'd quite like ranked choice voting to select electorate MP's. As it is now we can have an electorate MP disliked by just under 2/3rds of his electorate.

  11. George Chapman was the wiz behind Muldoon's gerrymandering. Obviously the Nats have held on to the Chapman tradition!

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