- Language: English
- Published: July 2012
- Region: Global
Country Report New Zealand
- Published: November 2013
- Region: New Zealand
- 23 Pages
- The Economist Intelligence Unit
The Electoral Commission has announced draft changes to national electoral boundaries, owing to population movements recorded by the 2013 census.
Under electoral rules, each electorate is required to have roughly the same population base of around 60,000, in order to ensure equal representation. Of the existing 70 electorates, 43 will see changes to their boundaries under the proposals. In addition, a new Auckland seat, Upper Harbour, will be created to reflect significant population growth in New Zealand's largest city. This will increase the total number of electorate seats at the 2014 election to 71, with another 49 list seats taking the number of members of parliament (MPs) to its usual total of 120. The boundaries for the seven Maori electorates will remain unchanged. The impact of the boundary changes on the overall composition of parliament is limited under the country's mixed-member proportional representation system, since it is the party vote (as opposed to the electorate vote) that is the main factor in determining the total number of MPs from each party. As such, the changes do not appear to favour one party over another.
Initially, it appeared that the newly created Upper Harbour seat would be a convenient one for the ruling, centre-right National Party to offer to Colin Craig, the leader of the small Conservative Party (CP), since there is no incumbent. With the National-led government's existing coalition partners in disarray, a future coalition with the CP is increasingly looking like the best option for National to secure a third term. If the party helps Mr Craig to win an electorate seat by fielding a low-profile National candidate (or none at all) in a reasonably safe seat, this will entitle the CP to additional list seats in parliament in proportion to its party vote, without having met the minimum 5% party-vote threshold. Assuming the CP secured around 4% of the party vote in the 2014 election, this could translate into four extra seats for a future National-Conservative coalition government. However, it now appears that Paula Bennett, the social development minister and a rising star of National, will stand in the Upper Harbour electorate, and so National will have to find another safe seat in Auckland for Mr Craig if it decides to pursue this strategy. SHOW LESS READ MORE >
Country Report New Zealand
Electoral boundary changes to have limited impact
Impact on the forecast