An electorate or electoral district (M?ori: rohe p?ti) is a geographical constituency used for electing members (MPs) to the New Zealand Parliament. The size of electorates is determined such that all electorates have approximately the same population.
Before 1996, all MPs were directly chosen for office by the voters of an electorate. In New Zealand's electoral system, 72 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 among parties. The 72 electorates are made up from 65 general and seven M?ori electorates. The number of electorates increases periodically in line with national population growth; the number was increased from 71 to 72 starting at the 2020 general election.
The Electoral Act 1993 refers to electorates as electoral districts. Electorates are informally referred to as seats, but more technically the term "seat" can refer to any elected member's place in Parliament (inclusive of list MPs).[a]
As of 2018 The Commission consists of:the Representation Commission determines electorate boundaries.
The Representation Commission reviews electorate boundaries after each New Zealand census, which normally occurs every five years. The South Island is guaranteed to have 16 general seats, and dividing the number of persons in the South Island's general electoral population by 16 determines the South Island Quota which is then used to help calculate the number of M?ori electorates and to determine the number of North Island electorates. The number of M?ori electorates is influenced by the M?ori Electoral Option where M?ori voters can opt to be in either a M?ori electorate or a general electorate. The percentage of M?ori voters opting for the M?ori roll determines the percentage of the whole M?ori population (of persons claiming M?ori ancestry at the previous census) which is then divided by the South Island Quota to calculate the number of M?ori seats. South Island M?ori opting for the general roll are included in the population on which the South Island Quota is established. The North Island population (including M?ori opting for the general roll) is divided into electorates, each of approximately the same population as the South Island ones. Electorates may vary by no more than 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) due both to internal migration and to immigration.
Although the New Zealand Parliament is intended to have 120 members, some terms have exceeded this quantity. Overhang seats arise when a party win more seats via electorates than their proportion of the party vote entitles them to; other parties are still awarded the same number of seats that they are entitled to, which results in more than 120 seats in total. In 2005 and 2011, 121 members were elected; 122 members were elected in 2008.
Originally, electorates were drawn up by the Representation Commission based on political and social links, with little consideration for differences in population. Elections for the New Zealand House of Representatives in the 1850s modelled the electoral procedures used for the British House of Commons, which at that time featured both single-member electorates (electorates returning just one MP) and multi-member electorates (electorates returning more than one MP). Each electorate was allocated a different number of MPs (up to three) in order to balance population differences. All electorates used a plurality voting system. From 1881, a special country quota meant that rural seats could contain fewer people than urban seats, preserving improportionality by over-representing farmers.[need quotation to verify] For the 1905 election the multi-member electorates were abolished. The quota system persisted until 1945.
Because of the increasing North Island population, the Representation Commission awarded the North Island an additional electoral seat beginning in the 2008 general election. Another new North Island seat was added for the 2014 general election. Each time, the need for an extra seat was determined from the results of the most recent New Zealand census, with the seat coming out of the total number of list seats. The total number of list seats has thus declined from 55 to 49 since the introduction of mixed-member proportional voting in 1996.
The Representation Commission determines the names of each electorate following the most recent census. An electorate may be named after a geographic region, landmark (e.g. a mountain) or main population centre. The Commission adopts compass point names when there is not a more suitable name. The compass point reference usually follows the name of the main population centre, e.g. Hamilton East.
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 warrant political representation. Two goldminers' electorates existed, the first began in 1863 and both ended in 1870.
Much more durable have been the M?ori electorates, created in 1867 to give separate representation to M?ori citizens. Although originally intended to be temporary, they came to function as reserved positions for M?ori until 1967, ensuring that there would always be a M?ori voice in Parliament. In 1967 the reserved status of the Maori seats was removed, allowing non-Maori to stand in the Maori electorates, thus removing any guarantee that Maori would be elected to Parliament. Until 1993 the number of M?ori electorates was fixed at four, significantly under-representing M?ori in Parliament. In 1975 the definition of who could opt to register on either the general or the m?ori roll was expanded to include all persons of M?ori descent. Previously all persons of more than 50% M?ori ancestry were on the M?ori roll while persons of less than 50% M?ori ancestry were required to enrol on the then European roll. Only persons presumed to have equal M?ori and European ancestry (so-called half-castes) had a choice of roll. Since the introduction of MMP, the number of seats can change with the number of M?ori voters who choose to go on the M?ori roll rather than the general roll.
Electoral districts in the 2020 general election for the 53rd Parliament reflect changes made in the Representation Commission's 2019/2020 boundary review. As well as new boundaries for many districts, the names of ten electorates have been changed, and one new electorate (Takanini) has been created. While some changes were made to the boundaries of the M?ori electorates, their names and general area remain the same as in the 52nd Parliament.
|Auckland Central||Auckland||Chlöe Swarbrick||Green|
|Banks Peninsula (formerly Port Hills)||Canterbury||Tracey McLellan||Labour|
|Bay of Plenty||Bay of Plenty||Todd Muller||National|
|Christchurch Central||Canterbury||Duncan Webb||Labour|
|Christchurch East||Canterbury||Poto Williams||Labour|
|Dunedin (formerly Dunedin North)||Otago||David Clark||Labour|
|East Coast||Gisborne and Bay of Plenty||Kiri Allan||Labour|
|East Coast Bays||Auckland||Erica Stanford||National|
|Hamilton East||Waikato||Jamie Strange||Labour|
|Hamilton West||Waikato||Gaurav Sharma||Labour|
|Hutt South||Wellington||Ginny Andersen||Labour|
|Kaik?ura||Marlborough and Canterbury||Stuart Smith||National|
|Kaipara ki Mahurangi (formerly Helensville)||Auckland||Chris Penk||National|
|Mt Albert||Auckland||Jacinda Ardern||Labour|
|Mt Roskill||Auckland||Michael Wood||Labour|
|Napier||Hawke's Bay||Stuart Nash||Labour|
|Nelson||Nelson and Tasman||Rachel Boyack||Labour|
|New Lynn||Auckland||Deborah Russell||Labour|
|New Plymouth||Taranaki||Glen Bennett||Labour|
|North Shore||Auckland||Simon Watts||National|
|?taki||Wellington and Manawat?-Whanganui||Terisa Ngobi||Labour|
|Palmerston North||Manawat?-Whanganui||Tangi Utikere||Labour|
|Panmure-?t?huhu (formerly Manukau East)||Auckland||Jenny Salesa||Labour|
|Port Waikato (formerly Hunua)||Auckland and Waikato||Andrew Bayly||National|
|Remutaka (formerly Rimutaka)||Wellington||Chris Hipkins||Labour|
|Rongotai||Wellington and the Chatham Islands||Paul Eagle||Labour|
|Rotorua||Bay of Plenty||Todd McClay||National|
|Southland (formerly Clutha-Southland)||Southland and Otago||Joseph Mooney||National|
|Taieri (formerly Dunedin South)||Otago||Ingrid Leary||Labour|
|Taranaki-King Country||Taranaki and Waikato||Barbara Kuriger||National|
|Tauranga||Bay of Plenty||Simon Bridges||National|
|Te Atat?||Auckland||Phil Twyford||Labour|
|Tukituki||Hawke's Bay||Anna Lorck||Labour|
|Upper Harbour||Auckland||Vanushi Walters||Labour|
|Waikato||Waikato||Tim van de Molen||National|
|Wairarapa||Wellington, Manawat?-Whanganui and Hawke's Bay||Kieran McAnulty||Labour|
|Waitaki||Otago and Canterbury||Jacqui Dean||National|
|Wellington Central||Wellington||Grant Robertson||Labour|
|West Coast-Tasman||West Coast and Tasman||Damien O'Connor||Labour|
|Whanganui||Manawat?-Whanganui and Taranaki||Steph Lewis||Labour|
|Whangapar?oa (formerly Rodney)||Auckland||Mark Mitchell||National|
|Whang?rei (formerly Whangarei)||Northland||Emily Henderson||Labour|
|Te Tai Tokerau||Northland and Auckland||Kelvin Davis||Labour|
|T?maki Makaurau||Auckland||Peeni Henare||Labour|
|Hauraki-Waikato||Auckland and Waikato||Nanaia Mahuta||Labour|
|Waiariki||Bay of Plenty and Waikato||Rawiri Waititi||M?ori|
|Ikaroa-R?whiti||Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, Manawat?-Whanganui and Wellington||Meka Whaitiri||Labour|
|Te Tai Hau?uru||Taranaki, Waikato, Manawat?-Whanganui and Wellington||Adrian Rurawhe||Labour|
|Te Tai Tonga||The South Island, Wellington and the Chatham Islands||Rino Tirikatene||Labour|
Both the single-member and the multi-member districts were instances of plurality voting systems, because candidates did not need a majority of the votes (more than half) to be elected. They required only a plurality - more votes than any of the other candidates - to win.