Council to oppose Otaki boundary change

The Horowhenua District Council will oppose the removal of Shannon from the Otaki electorate, though its chief executive feels stopping the move is unlikely to happen.

The Representation Commission released new electorate boundaries for the 2014 election last week. Among the changes around the country was the shifting of Shannon and Tokomaru from the Otaki electorate into Rangitikei.

Horowhenua District Council has written to the commission opposing the change.

However, at a council meeting this week chief executive David Clapperton acknowledged there was little chance this would make a difference.

"In my experience the likelihood of change is not great but there have been situations where they may have a change of heart.

"To not make a submission would be to agree that we support the situation."

The submission said there was a shared community of interest between Shannon and Tokomaru and the rest of the Otaki electorate, which runs down through to the Kapiti Coast.

"The Horowhenua District Council believes Shannon and Tokomaru are best served by a single, committed parliamentary representative in one focused and manageable electorate," the submission says.

It goes on to say that the views of Shannon and Tokomaru "hold weight" in the Otaki electorate.

"In the geographically much larger Rangitikei area, demanding for any MP to get around, Shannon and Tokomaru could well be overlooked and disadvantaged, sitting as they do at the south end of a 260-kilometre long electorate."

Rangitikei was already one of the largest electorates in the North Island.

However, 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 electorates; Whanganui grew to include more of Taranaki.

Feedback is being sought on the proposed electorate boundaries, with a final decision to be made in the new year.

At the time the boundaries were announced, Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie said the new areas had a lot in common in terms of their rural character and some of the issues they faced, along with the rest of his electorate.

Manawatu Standard