How are electoral boundaries decided?

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

The next boundary review will take place before the 2026 General Election.

Understand what an electorate is

Adjusting electorate boundaries gives all New Zealanders equal representation

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.

Before the boundary review

Before the boundary review, the Government Statistician works out how many electorates there should be, and the average populations of those electorates.

Working out how many electorates there should be

What happens in a boundary review

The Representation Commission has 6 months to:

  • agree on the boundaries and names of the proposed electorates
  • release the proposed boundaries for public consultation
  • consider public submissions and finalise the boundaries
  • publish its report on the final electorate names and boundaries.

What happens in a boundary review?

Who reviews electorate boundaries

The Representation Commission is an independent body. Public officials and government and opposition appointees make up the Commission.

Who reviews electorate boundaries?

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 about local council boundary reviews on the Local Government Commission’s website

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