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An electorate is a geographical constituency used for electing members to the New Zealand Parliament. In informal discussion, electorates are often called seats. The most formal description, electoral district, is used in legislation.The size of electorates is determined on a population basis such that all electorates have approximately the same population.
An electoral district, (election) precinct, election district, or legislative district, called a voting district by the United States Census is a territorial subdivision for electing members to a legislative body. Generally, only voters (constituents) who reside within the district are permitted to vote in an election held there. From a single district, a single member or multiple members might be chosen. Members might be chosen by a first-past-the-post system or a proportional representative system, or another voting method entirely. Members might be chosen through a direct election under universal suffrage, an indirect election, or another form of suffrage.
The New Zealand Parliament is the legislature of New Zealand, consisting of the Queen of New Zealand (Queen-in-Parliament) and the New Zealand House of Representatives. The Queen is usually represented by a governor-general. Before 1951, there was an upper chamber, the New Zealand Legislative Council. The Parliament was established in 1854 and is one of the oldest continuously functioning legislatures in the world.
Before 1996, all members of Parliament were directly chosen for office by the voters of an electorate. Starting from 2014 under the MMP electoral system, 71 of the usually 120 seats in Parliament were filled by electorate members, with the remainder being filled from party lists in order to achieve proportional representation (there were 69 electorates in 2005, and 70 electorates in the 2008 and 2011 elections). The 71 electorates are made up from 64 general and seven Māori electorates.
The 2014 New Zealand general election took place on Saturday 20 September 2014 to determine the membership of the 51st New Zealand Parliament.
The New Zealand electoral system has been mixed-member proportional (MMP) since 1996. MMP was introduced after a referendum in 1993. MMP replaced the first-past-the-post (FPP) system New Zealand had previously used for most of its history.
Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. If n% of the electorate support a particular political party, then roughly n% of seats will be won by that party. The essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result - not just a plurality, or a bare majority. The most prevalent forms of proportional representation all require the use of multiple-member voting districts, as it is not possible to fill a single seat in a proportional manner. In fact, the implementations of PR that achieve the highest levels of proportionality tend to include districts with large numbers of seats.
Originally, electorates were drawn up[ by whom? ] 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.
The House of Commons, officially the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House.
The country quota was a part of the New Zealand electoral system from 1881 until 1945. Its effect was to make urban constituencies more populous than those in rural areas, thus making rural votes worth more in general elections.
As of 2018 [update] the Representation Commission determines electorate boundaries. The Commission consists of:
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 Māori electorates and to determine the number of North Island electorates. The number of Māori electorates is influenced by the Māori Electoral Option where Māori voters can opt to be in either a Māori electorate or a general electorate. The percentage of Māori voters opting for the Māori roll determines the percentage of the whole Māori population (of persons claiming Māori ancestry at the previous census) which is then divided by the South Island Quota to calculate the number of Māori seats. South Island Māori opting for the general roll are included in the population on which the South Island Quota is established. The North Island population (including Māori 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.
The New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings is a national population and housing census conducted by government department Statistics New Zealand every five years. There have been thirty-three censuses since 1851. In addition to providing detailed information about national demographics, the results of the census play an important part in the calculation of resource allocation to local service providers.
The South Island, also officially named Te Waipounamu, is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand in surface area; the other being the smaller but more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, and to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean. The South Island covers 150,437 square kilometres (58,084 sq mi), making it the world's 12th-largest island. It has a temperate climate.
In New Zealand politics, Māori electorates, colloquially known as the Māori seats, are a special category of electorate that gives reserved positions to representatives of Māori in the New Zealand Parliament. Every area in New Zealand is covered by both a general and a Māori electorate; there are currently seven Māori electorates. Since 1967 candidates in Māori electorates have not needed to be Māori themselves, but to register as a voter in the Māori electorates people need to declare they are of Māori descent.
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.
Although the New Zealand Parliament is intended to have 120 members,[ citation needed ] recent iterations have exceeded this quantity. Due to some parties winning more electorate seats than their proportion of the party vote suggests, overhang seats have been awarded[ by whom? ]. In 2005 and 2011, 121 members were elected; 122 members were elected in 2008.
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 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. In 1975 the definition of who could opt to register on either the general or the māori roll was expanded to include all persons of Māori descent.Previously all persons of more than 50% Māori ancestry were on the māori roll while persons of less than 50% Māori ancestry were required to enrol on the then European roll. Only persons presumed to have equal Māori 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 Māori voters who choose to go on the Māori roll rather than the general roll.
This table shows the electorates as they are represented, as of 24 September 2017, during the 52nd New Zealand Parliament.
|Auckland Central||Auckland (Central)||Nikki Kaye||National|
|Bay of Plenty||Bay of Plenty||Todd Muller||National|
|Botany||Auckland (East)||Jami-Lee Ross||Independent|
|Christchurch Central||Canterbury||Duncan Webb||Labour|
|Christchurch East||Canterbury||Poto Williams||Labour|
|Clutha-Southland||Southland; Otago||Hamish Walker||National|
|Dunedin North||Otago||David Clark||Labour|
|Dunedin South||Otago||Clare Curran||Labour|
|East Coast||Gisborne; Bay of Plenty||Anne Tolley||National|
|East Coast Bays||Auckland (North)||Erica Stanford||National|
|Epsom||Auckland (Central)||David Seymour||ACT|
|Hamilton East||Waikato||David Bennett||National|
|Hamilton West||Waikato||Tim Macindoe||National|
|Helensville||Auckland (West)||Chris Penk||National|
|Hunua||Auckland (South)||Andrew Bayly||National|
|Hutt South||Wellington||Chris Bishop||National|
|Kaikōura||Marlborough; Canterbury||Stuart Smith||National|
|Kelston||Auckland (West)||Carmel Sepuloni||Labour|
|Māngere||Auckland (South)||William Sio||Labour|
|Manukau East||Auckland (South)||Jenny Salesa||Labour|
|Manurewa||Auckland (South)||Louisa Wall||Labour|
|Maungakiekie||Auckland (Central)||Denise Lee||National|
|Mt Albert||Auckland (Central)||Jacinda Ardern||Labour|
|Mt Roskill||Auckland (Central)||Michael Wood||Labour|
|Napier||Hawke's Bay||Stuart Nash||Labour|
|Nelson||Nelson; Tasman||Nick Smith||National|
|New Lynn||Auckland (West)||Deborah Russell||Labour|
|New Plymouth||Taranaki||Jonathan Young||National|
|North Shore||Auckland (North)||Maggie Barry||National|
|Northcote||Auckland (North)||Dan Bidois||National|
|Ōtaki||Wellington; Manawatu-Wanganui||Nathan Guy||National|
|Pakuranga||Auckland (East)||Simeon Brown||National|
|Palmerston North||Manawatu-Wanganui||Iain Lees-Galloway||Labour|
|Papakura||Auckland (South)||Judith Collins||National|
|Port Hills||Canterbury||Ruth Dyson||Labour|
|Rodney||Auckland (North)||Mark Mitchell||National|
|Rotorua||Bay of Plenty||Todd McClay||National|
|Tāmaki||Auckland (Central)||Simon O'Connor||National|
|Taranaki-King Country||Taranaki; Waikato||Barbara Kuriger||National|
|Tauranga||Bay of Plenty||Simon Bridges||National|
|Te Atatu||Auckland (West)||Phil Twyford||Labour|
|Tukituki||Hawke's Bay||Lawrence Yule||National|
|Upper Harbour||Auckland (North)||Paula Bennett||National|
|Waikato||Waikato||Tim van de Molen||National|
|Wairarapa||Wellington; Manawatu-Wanganui||Alastair Scott||National|
|Waitaki||Otago; Canterbury||Jacqui Dean||National|
|Wellington Central||Wellington||Grant Robertson||Labour|
|West Coast-Tasman||West Coast; Tasman||Damien O'Connor||Labour|
|Whanganui||Manawatu-Wanganui; Taranaki||Harete Hipango||National|
|Hauraki-Waikato||Waikato; Auckland||Nanaia Mahuta||Labour|
|Ikaroa-Rāwhiti||Hawke's Bay; Gisborne; Manawatu-Wanganui; Wellington||Meka Whaitiri||Labour|
|Tāmaki Makaurau||Auckland||Peeni Henare||Labour|
|Te Tai Hauāuru||Taranaki; Waikato; Manawatu-Wanganui; Wellington||Adrian Rurawhe||Labour|
|Te Tai Tokerau||Northland; Auckland||Kelvin Davis||Labour|
|Te Tai Tonga||South Island; Wellington||Rino Tirikatene||Labour|
|Waiariki||Bay of Plenty; Waikato||Tamati Coffey||Labour|
Electoral reform in New Zealand has, in recent years, become a political issue as major changes have been made to both Parliamentary and local government electoral systems.
New Zealand is a representative democracy. Members of the unicameral New Zealand Parliament gain their seats through nationwide general elections, or in by-elections. General elections are usually held every three years; they may be held at an earlier date at the discretion of the Prime Minister, although it usually only happens in the event of a vote of no confidence or other exceptional circumstances. A by-election is held to fill a vacancy arising during a parliamentary term. The most recent general election took place on 23 September 2017.
The 1996 New Zealand general election was held on 12 October 1996 to determine the composition of the 45th New Zealand Parliament. It was notable for being the first election to be held under the new mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system, and produced a parliament considerably more diverse than previous elections. It saw the National Party, led by Jim Bolger, retain its position in government, but only after protracted negotiations with the smaller New Zealand First party to form a coalition. New Zealand First's position as "kingmaker", able to place either of the two major parties into government, was a significant election outcome.
The New Zealand general election of 1881 was held on 8 and 9 December in the Māori and European electorates, respectively, to elect 95 MPs to the 8th session of the New Zealand Parliament.
The 2008 New Zealand general election was held on 8 November 2008 to determine the composition of the 49th New Zealand parliament. The conservative National Party, headed by its parliamentary leader John Key, won the largest share of votes and seats, ending nine years of government by the social-democratic Labour Party, led by Helen Clark. Key announced a week later that he would lead a National minority government with confidence-and-supply support from the ACT, United Future and Māori parties. The Governor-General swore Key in as New Zealand's 38th Prime Minister on 19 November 2008. This marked an end to nine years of Labour Party government, and the beginning of the Fifth National Government of New Zealand which would govern for 9 years, until its loss to the Labour Party in the 2017 general election.
Voting in New Zealand was introduced after colonisation by British settlers.
Coromandel is a New Zealand electoral division returning one member to the House of Representatives. It is currently represented by Scott Simpson, a member of the National Party.
Helensville is a New Zealand parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the House of Representatives. The electorate was first established for the 1978 election and was abolished again in 1984, and has existed again since the 2002 election. The MP for Helensville is Chris Penk of the National Party, who has held the seat since the 2017 general election.
Te Atatū is a parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the New Zealand House of Representatives. The current MP for Te Atatū is Phil Twyford of the Labour Party.
Waitakere was a parliamentary electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the New Zealand House of Representatives. The electorate was first formed for the 1946 election and existed until 2014, with breaks from 1969 to 1978 and from 1987 to 1993. The last MP for Waitakere was Paula Bennett of the National Party, who had held this position since the 2008 election.
Te Tai Tokerau is a New Zealand parliamentary Māori electorate that was created out of the Northern Maori electorate ahead of the first Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) election in 1996. It was first held by Tau Henare representing New Zealand First for one term, and then Dover Samuels of the Labour Party for two terms. From 2005 to 2014, it was held by MP Hone Harawira. Initially a member of the Māori Party, Harawira resigned from both the party and then Parliament, causing the 2011 by-election. He was returned under the Mana Party banner in July 2011 and confirmed at the November 2011 general election. In the 2014 election, he was beaten by Labour's Kelvin Davis, ending the representation of the Mana Party in Parliament.
Te Tai Tonga is a New Zealand parliamentary Māori electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the New Zealand House of Representatives. The current MP for Te Tai Tonga is Rino Tirikatene of the Labour Party, who in 2011 defeated Rahui Katene of the Māori Party, who in turn had won the seat in 2008.
Te Tai Hauāuru is a New Zealand parliamentary Māori electorate, returning one Member of Parliament to the New Zealand House of Representatives, that was first formed for the 1996 election. The electorate was represented by Tariana Turia from 2002 to 2014, first for the Labour Party and then for the Māori Party. Turia retired and was succeeded in 2014 by Labour's Adrian Rurawhe who again retained the seat in 2017.
The 49th New Zealand Parliament was elected at the 2008 election. It comprised 122 members, including an overhang of two seats caused by the Māori Party having won two more electorate seats than its share of the party vote would otherwise have given it. The Parliament served from 2008 until the November 2011 election.
The 50th New Zealand Parliament was elected at the 2011 general election. It had 121 members, and was in place from December 2011 until September 2014, followed by the 2014 general election. The first sitting of the 50th Parliament was held on 20 December 2011, where members were sworn in and Lockwood Smith was elected Speaker of the House. This was followed by the speech from the throne on 21 December. John Key continued to lead the Fifth National Government. Following the resignation of Smith, David Carter was elected Speaker.
The 51st New Zealand Parliament was elected at the 2014 general election. This Parliament consists of 121 members and was in place from September 2014 until August 2017, followed by the 2017 New Zealand general election. Following the final vote count John Key was able to continue to lead the Fifth National Government.
The next New Zealand general election will be held after the currently elected 52nd New Zealand Parliament is dissolved or expires. The current Parliament was elected on Saturday, 23 September 2017. The last possible date for the next general election to be held is Saturday, 21 November 2020.
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.