How do boundary reviews work?

The Representation Commission reviews and adjusts electorate boundaries after each 5-yearly population census and the Māori Electoral Option.

Regularly adjusting the electorate boundaries makes sure each electorate has about the same number of people. This gives all New Zealanders equal representation in Parliament.

The Representation Commission uses total populations to adjust boundaries, rather than just registered voters, because members of Parliament represent everyone living in their area, not just those who can register to vote.

Find out more about the Representation Commission

Before the boundary review

To get the data needed for the review, the Government Statistician worked out how many Māori and general electorates there should be for the 2020 and 2023 general elections. They also worked out the population quotas – how many people should be in each electorate.

For the 2020 and 2023 elections, the number of:

  • general electorates in the South Island is fixed at 16
  • general electorates in the North Island increases from 48 to 49
  • Māori electorates remains unchanged at seven.

 The population quotas used for drawing those electorates were:

  • 65,458 people for South Island general electorates
  • 64,899 people for North Island general electorates
  • 67,582 people for the Māori electorates.

Find out more about the Government Statistician's report on the Stats NZ website

During the boundary review

The Representation Commission looks at various factors before agreeing to the proposed electorates and releasing them to the public.

First it makes sure each electorate has about the same number of people. The number of people in each electorate cannot be more than 5 percent larger or 5 percent smaller than its population quota.

The Representation Commission also considers:

  • existing electorate boundaries
  • communities of interest including iwi affiliations in Māori electorates
  • the infrastructure that links communities, such as main roads
  • topographic features such as mountains and rivers
  • projected variations in electoral populations over the next 5 years.

 The Commission also looks at whether the names of electorates are still relevant.

Having your say during the boundary review

During the boundary review there is an opportunity for you to have your say on the proposed boundaries and names. Public consultation happens in three stages:

  • written objections
  • written counter-objections
  • public hearings. 

Read the objections and counter-objections from the 2019/20 boundary review

New boundaries take effect when the current Parliament dissolves

The Representation Commission considers all objections and counter-objections, and then produce its final report. The new boundaries then take effect when the current Parliament dissolves.

The Local Government Commission runs local council boundary reviews

The Representation Commission is not responsible for local council boundary reviews. The Local Government Commission reviews local council boundaries.

Find out more on the Local Government Commission's website

Back to top