New Zealand Electorates
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New Zealand Electorates

An electorate or electoral district (M?ori: rohe p?ti) is a geographical constituency used for electing members (MPs) to the New Zealand Parliament.[1] 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.[1] 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 Representation Commission determines electorate boundaries.[2] 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 bloc.
  • A chairperson (often a judge) nominated by the other members (with the exception of Chairperson of the Local Government Commission).[2]

The Representation Commission reviews electorate boundaries after each New Zealand census, which normally occurs every five years.[1] 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.[3] Electorates may vary by no more than 5% of the average population size.[1] 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.[4]

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.[5] In 2005 and 2011, 121 members were elected; 122 members were elected in 2008.[6]


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).[7] 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.[8] From 1881, a special country quota meant that rural seats could contain fewer people than urban seats, preserving improportionality by over-representing farmers.[9][need quotation to verify] For the 1905 election the multi-member electorates were abolished. The quota system persisted until 1945.[7]

Because of the increasing North Island population, the Representation Commission awarded the North Island an additional electoral seat beginning in the 2008 general election.[10] Another new North Island seat was added for the 2014 general election.[11] 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.

Naming conventions

The Representation Commission determines the names of each electorate following the most recent census.[2] 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.

Special electorates

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.

M?ori electorates

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.[12] 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.[13] 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.

Electorates in the 53rd Parliament

Map of New Zealand with divisions for the general electorates, displayed in different colours for political parties.
General electorates since 2020, showing the 2020 election results

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.[14] 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.

General electorates

Electorate Region MP Party
Auckland Central Auckland Chlöe Swarbrick Green
Banks Peninsula (formerly Port Hills) Canterbury Tracey McLellan Labour
Bay of Plenty Bay of Plenty Todd Muller National
Botany Auckland Christopher Luxon National
Christchurch Central Canterbury Duncan Webb Labour
Christchurch East Canterbury Poto Williams Labour
Coromandel Waikato Scott Simpson National
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
Epsom Auckland David Seymour ACT
Hamilton East Waikato Jamie Strange Labour
Hamilton West Waikato Gaurav Sharma Labour
Hutt South Wellington Ginny Andersen Labour
Ilam Canterbury Sarah Pallett Labour
Invercargill Southland Penny Simmonds National
Kaik?ura Marlborough and Canterbury Stuart Smith National
Kaipara ki Mahurangi (formerly Helensville) Auckland Chris Penk National
Kelston Auckland Carmel Sepuloni Labour
Mana Wellington Barbara Edmonds Labour
M?ngere Auckland William Sio Labour
Manurewa Auckland Arena Williams Labour
Maungakiekie Auckland Priyanca Radhakrishnan Labour
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
Northcote Auckland Shanan Halbert Labour
Northland Northland Willow-Jean Prime Labour
?h?riu Wellington Greg O'Connor Labour
?taki Wellington and Manawat?-Whanganui Terisa Ngobi Labour
Pakuranga Auckland Simeon Brown National
Palmerston North Manawat?-Whanganui Tangi Utikere Labour
Panmure-?t?huhu (formerly Manukau East) Auckland Jenny Salesa Labour
Papakura Auckland Judith Collins National
Port Waikato (formerly Hunua) Auckland and Waikato Andrew Bayly National
Rangitata Canterbury Jo Luxton Labour
Rangit?kei Manawat?-Whanganui Ian McKelvie National
Remutaka (formerly Rimutaka) Wellington Chris Hipkins Labour
Rongotai Wellington and the Chatham Islands Paul Eagle Labour
Rotorua Bay of Plenty Todd McClay National
Selwyn Canterbury Nicola Grigg National
Southland (formerly Clutha-Southland) Southland and Otago Joseph Mooney National
Taieri (formerly Dunedin South) Otago Ingrid Leary Labour
Takanini Auckland Neru Leavasa Labour
T?maki Auckland Simon O'Connor National
Taranaki-King Country Taranaki and Waikato Barbara Kuriger National
Taup? Waikato Louise Upston 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
Waimakariri Canterbury Matthew Doocey 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
Wigram Canterbury Megan Woods Labour

M?ori electorates

Map of New Zealand with divisions for the M?ori electorates, displayed in different colours for political parties.
M?ori Electorates since the 2020 election. Red represent Labour seats, brown represents M?ori Party seats.
Electorate Region MP Party
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

Abolished electorates

General electorates

M?ori electorates

Goldminers' electorates


  1. ^ Historically, the only way to gain a seat was to win an electorate, but under the present MMP system, now list MPs are able to gain seats without representing an electorate.


  1. ^ a b c d "Electoral Act 1993 No 87 (as at 01 July 2016), Public Act Contents". New Zealand Legislation. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Representation Commission". Electoral Commission (New Zealand). Archived from the original on 22 January 2019. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ "Calculating future M?ori and General Electorates". Electoral Commission (New Zealand). 1 October 2013. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  4. ^ "Proportion of electorate seats to list seats" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ Mixed-Member Electoral Systems: the best of both worlds?. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2001. p. 24. ISBN 0191528978.
  6. ^ "Overhang" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 May 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ a b Roberts, Nigel S. (20 June 2012). "Electoral systems - Turning votes into seats". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ Roberts, Nigel S. (17 February 2015). "Electoral systems - Turning votes into seats". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 2018. 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.
  9. ^ Atkinson, Neill (2003). Adventures in democracy: a history of the vote in New Zealand. Dunedin: University of Otago Press. p. 76.
  10. ^ "Report of the Representation Commission, 2007" (PDF). Representation Commission. 2007. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 January 2019. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ "2014 Electorate Boundaries - Key Changes". Electoral Commission. 17 April 2014. Archived from the original on 26 January 2019. Retrieved 2014.
  12. ^ "Electoral Amendment Act 1975". Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ "Electoral Act, 1956". Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ "Boundary Review 2019/20". Elections. Electoral Commission New Zealand. 17 April 2020. Retrieved 2020.

External links

  • Electoral profiles, produced by the Parliamentary Library, New Zealand Parliament.
  • Map of electorates with boundaries, produced by the Parliamentary Library, run by the Electoral Commission, the Electoral Enrolment Centre, the Representation Commission, and the Justice Sector.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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