Boundary change for Rangitikei

Ian McKelvie will have even further to drive on the election campaign trail next year.

Shannon, Tokomaru and Opiki have been added to his Rangitikei electorate at the expense of the Otaki electorate held by Nathan Guy.

Mr McKelvie said that while the electorate was bigger, the increase was not huge. "I've got to take what I'm given," he said.

The Representation Commission released new electorate boundaries for the 2014 election yesterday. The boundaries are open for feedback before a final decision is made.

After this year's census, the commission found the existing Rangitikei boundaries were too far below the average population for electorates.

To compensate, 2400 voters were moved from Otaki into Rangitikei.

There was no change to the Palmerston North or Wairarapa electorate boundaries or the Maori electorate of Te Tai Hauauru.

Mr McKelvie said the new part of the electorate was rural and had a lot in common with other areas in Rangitikei. The electorate stretches up to the Ruapehu District and the towns of Raetihi and Taumarunui.

Mr McKelvie said there was already confusion along the southern border about what was in Rangitikei and what was in Otaki so some may be surprised to learn they were not already in Rangitikei.

The change is likely to have little impact on Mr McKelvie's 9382-vote majority in the seat. At the last election voters in Shannon gave 270 votes to Labour's Otaki candidate Peter Foster and 256 to Mr Guy. In Tokomaru there were 96 votes for Mr Foster and 185 for Mr Guy.

Ross Campbell, Horowhenua district councillor for the affected area, said he did not foresee protest from Shannon about the change.

The move was interesting, given rumblings in Shannon and Tokomaru about ditching Horowhenua District Council for either Manawatu or Palmerston North.

Bennett gives elbow, Page 6

Manawatu Standard