New Zealand electorates

New Zealand electorates
New Zealand

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An electorate is a voting district for elections to the Parliament of New Zealand. In informal discussion, electorates are often called seats. The most formal description, electoral district, is rarely seen outside of electoral legislation. Before 1996, all Members of Parliament were directly chosen for office by the voters of an electorate. In 2008 and 2011 under the MMP electoral system, 70 of the usually 120 seats in Parliament are filled by electorate members, with the remainder being filled from party lists in order to achieve proportional representation (there were 69 electorate seats in 2005). The 70 electorates are made up from 63 general and 7 Māori electorates.



Originally, electorates were drawn up based on political and social links, with little consideration for differences in population. Each electorate was allocated a different number of MPs (up to three) in order to balance population differences, but this was only partly successful. Eventually, a new system was introduced — each electorate would elect one MP, and boundaries would be drawn based on population. However, a special country quota meant that rural seats were allowed to contain fewer people than urban seats, preserving an inequality (and over-representing farmers). The quota persisted until 1945.

Today, electorate boundaries are determined by the Representation Commission. The Commission consists of:

  • Four government officials — the Government Statistician, the Surveyor-General, the Chief Electoral Officer, and the Chairperson of the Local Government Commission.
  • A representative of the governing party or coalition, and a representative of the opposition block.
  • A chairperson (often a judge) nominated by the other members, with the exception of Chairperson of the Local Government Commission.

Boundaries are reviewed after each New Zealand Census, which occurs every five years. The South Island is guaranteed to have 16 general seats, with the remainder of voters (North Island and Māori) being divided into electorates of the same population as the South Island ones. Electorates may vary by 5% of the average population size. This has caused the number of list seats in Parliament to decline as the population is experiencing 'northern drift' (i.e. the population of the North Island, especially around Auckland, is growing faster than that of the South Island).

In a continuation of 'northern drift', the North Island got an extra electoral seat for the 2008 general election.[1] The need for an extra seat was determined from the results of the 2006 Census. The extra seat brought the total number of electoral seats to 70, and reduced the number of list seats to 50.[1]

The Parliaments elected in 2005 and 2008 had more than 120 members – 121 in 2005 and 122 in 2008 – an overhang caused by the Māori Party winning more electorate seats than its proportion of the party vote would give it.

Special electorates

For the qualifications required to vote, which were gradually extended, see History of voting in New Zealand.

Over the years, there have been two types of "special" electorates created for particular communities. The first were special goldminers' electorates, created for participants in the Otago Goldrush — goldminers did not usually meet the residency and property requirements in the electorate they were prospecting in, but were numerous enough to want political representation. Two goldminers' electorates existed, the first began in 1863 and both ended in 1870.

Much more durable have been the Māori electorates, created in 1868 to give separate representation to Māori citizens. Although originally intended to be temporary, they came to function as reserved positions for Māori, ensuring that there would always be a Māori voice in Parliament. Until 1996 the number of Māori electorates was fixed at four, significantly under-representing Māori in Parliament. Since the introduction of MMP, the number of seats can change with the number of Māori voters who choose to go on the Māori roll rather than the general roll.

Current electorates

General electorates

Electorate MP party description
Auckland Central Kaye, NikkiNikki Kaye National inner-city Auckland and Hauraki Gulf islands
Bay of Plenty Ryall, TonyTony Ryall National central Bay of Plenty coast
Botany Ross, Jami-LeeJami-Lee Ross National south east Auckland (new seat)
Christchurch Central Burns, BrendonBrendon Burns Labour inner city Christchurch
Christchurch East Dalziel, LianneLianne Dalziel Labour eastern Christchurch
Clutha-Southland English, BillBill English National Southland region (excluding Invercargill) and south Otago and parts of Central Otago
Coromandel Goudie, SandraSandra Goudie National Coromandel Peninsula
Dunedin North Hodgson, PetePete Hodgson Labour central and north Dunedin
Dunedin South Curran, ClareClare Curran Labour south Dunedin and east Dunedin
East Coast Tolley, AnneAnne Tolley National Wairoa, Gisborne, eastern Bay of Plenty
East Coast Bays McCully, MurrayMurray McCully National northeastern North Shore City
Epsom Hide, RodneyRodney Hide ACT east-central Auckland
Hamilton East Bennett, DavidDavid Bennett National east Hamilton
Hamilton West Tim Macindoe National west Hamilton
Helensville Key, JohnJohn Key National northwest Auckland urban fringe
Hunua Hutchison, PaulPaul Hutchison National Franklin, rural districts south of Auckland.
Hutt South Mallard, TrevorTrevor Mallard Labour southern Hutt Valley
Ilam Gerry Brownlee National western Christchurch
Invercargill Roy, EricEric Roy National Invercargill, peripheral towns and Stewart Island/Rakiura
Kaikōura King, ColinColin King National Marlborough, Kaikoura and north Canterbury
Mana Faafoi, KrisKris Faafoi Labour Porirua city and southern Kapiti Coast
Mangere Sio, Su'a WilliamSu'a William Sio Labour Mangere, south Auckland
Manukau East Robertson, RossRoss Robertson Labour Otara and eastern Manukau
Manurewa Hawkins, GeorgeGeorge Hawkins Labour central and southern Manukau city
Maungakiekie Lotu-Iiga, SamSam Lotu-Iiga National south east suburbs of Auckland city
Mt Albert Shearer, DavidDavid Shearer Labour west-central Auckland
Mt Roskill Goff, PhilPhil Goff Labour south-western Auckland city
Napier Tremain, ChrisChris Tremain National city of Napier
Nelson Smith, NickNick Smith National city of Nelson
New Lynn Cunliffe, DavidDavid Cunliffe Labour West Auckland
New Plymouth Young, JonathanJonathan Young National city of New Plymouth and Waitara
North Shore Mapp, WayneWayne Mapp National south east North Shore
Northcote Jonathan Coleman National south west North Shore
Northland Carter, JohnJohn Carter National Northland outside of Whangarei
Ōhariu Dunne, PeterPeter Dunne United Future north Wellington and western Hutt Valley hills
Ōtaki Guy, NathanNathan Guy National Horowhenua and northern Kapiti Coast
Pakuranga Williamson, MauriceMaurice Williamson National east Auckland
Palmerston North Lees-Galloway, IainIain Lees-Galloway Labour city of Palmerston North
Papakura Judith Collins National Papakura and parts of Franklin district, Auckland.
Port Hills Dyson, RuthRuth Dyson Labour south east Christchurch and port of Lyttelton
Rangitata Goodhew, JoJo Goodhew National South Canterbury
Rangitīkei Power, SimonSimon Power National northern Manawatu and inland Whanganui region.
Rimutaka Hipkins, ChrisChris Hipkins Labour northern Hutt Valley
Rodney Smith, LockwoodLockwood Smith National Hibiscus Coast, Wellsford and Warkworth
Rongotai King, AnnetteAnnette King Labour southern and eastern suburbs of Wellington; Chatham Islands
Rotorua McClay, ToddTodd McClay National Rotorua District and Kawerau
Selwyn Adams, AmyAmy Adams National western Christchurch urban fringe and Ashburton
Tāmaki Peachey, AllanAllan Peachey National eastern suburbs of Auckland city
Taranaki-King Country Ardern, ShaneShane Ardern National northern Taranaki towns, King Country and Te Awamutu
Taupō Upston, LouiseLouise Upston National Taupo, Turangi, South Waikato and Ruapehu districts
Tauranga Bridges, SimonSimon Bridges National central Tauranga and Mount Maunganui
Te Atatu Carter, ChrisChris Carter Independent Te Atatu peninsula and Henderson, west Auckland
Tukituki Foss, CraigCraig Foss National Hastings and southern Hawkes Bay
Waikato Tisch, LindsayLindsay Tisch National north Waikato
Waimakariri Cosgrove, ClaytonClayton Cosgrove Labour northwest Christchurch, Rangiora and Kaiapoi
Wairarapa Hayes, JohnJohn Hayes National Wairarapa, Tararua District
Waitakere Bennett, PaulaPaula Bennett National West Auckland
Waitaki Dean, JacquiJacqui Dean National north and parts of central Otago
Wellington Central Robertson, GrantGrant Robertson Labour inner-city Wellington
West Coast-Tasman Auchinvole, ChrisChris Auchinvole National West Coast, Murchison and north Nelson regional coast
Whanganui Chester Borrows National city of Wanganui and south Taranaki coast
Whangarei Heatley, PhilPhil Heatley National city of Whangarei
Wigram Anderton, JimJim Anderton Progressive south west Christchurch

Māori electorates

Electorate MP Party Description
Hauraki-Waikato Mahuta, NanaiaNanaia Mahuta Labour Waikato region; New seat replacing the old Tainui seat.
Ikaroa-Rawhiti Horomia, ParekuraParekura Horomia Labour eastern North Island from East Cape to Wairarapa
Tamaki Makaurau Sharples, PitaPita Sharples Māori central and southern Auckland
Te Tai Hauauru Turia, TarianaTariana Turia Māori western coast of the North Island and South Waikato
Te Tai Tokerau Harawira, HoneHone Harawira Mana Upper North Island
Te Tai Tonga Katene, RahuiRahui Katene Māori Wellington, the South Island, Stewart Island/Rakiura and the Chatham Islands
Waiariki Flavell, Te UruroaTe Ururoa Flavell Māori Bay of Plenty, Taupo, Coromandel

Abolished electorates

General Electorates

Māori electorates

Goldminers' electorates

  • Goldfields
  • Goldfields Towns


External links

  • Map of electorates with boundaries, produced by the Elections NZ website, run by the Electoral Commission, the Electoral Enrolment Centre, the Representation Commission, and the Justice Sector.

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