Census to alter electorate boundaries
The Rangitata and Waitaki electorates will undergo boundary reviews as a result of 2013 census population counts.
Both electorates saw population increases which put them outside the 5 per cent tolerance for electoral population - Rangitata at 7 per cent and Waitaki at 9 per cent.
Each electorate is required to be within 5 per cent of 59,679 people.
The Representation Commission will review the boundaries and make adjustments to ensure the variance is within the 5 per cent tolerance as stipulated by the Electoral Act. The commission is scheduled to start redrawing the electorate boundaries for use in the 2014 and 2017 general elections next week.
Under the Electoral Act, the boundaries of the general and Maori electorates must be reviewed after each population census.
Representation Commission chairman Bernard Kendall said it was an important step in the electoral process to ensure electorates had similar population numbers.
"The Representation Commission's final decisions may change the electorate or the name of the electorate that some voters are in."
Changes to New Zealand's population meant a number of electorate boundaries would need to be redrawn, he said.
Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew said she had expected boundary changes in the Rangitata electorate.
While existing electorate boundaries were implemented after the 2007 review, she anticipated the next round to be a different scenario.
"I don't believe I'm having any trouble getting around my electorate; I get appointments with people and I phone them."
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said she was not anticipating a significant change to electoral boundaries.
"All that happens now is boundaries will get shifted around; in terms of MMP and what it will do, I don't know.
"It might make the electorate smaller but I'm not anticipating a huge change in size.
"I'm pretty happy with the level of representation we have in the South Island; while it is harder to get around the electorate, we have more methods of communication these days."
The Representation Commission expects to release proposed electorate boundaries for public comment on November 21. The public will have the opportunity to make submissions on the proposed electorate boundaries and names until December 23. The commission will summarise the submissions and make them publicly available.
Counter-objections will be called for between January 14 and 29 and the commission will conduct public hearings in February 2014.
Final electorate boundaries are expected to be released in mid-April 2014.
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