Dunedin North extended north

The Labour stronghold of Dunedin North will have its boundaries shifted northwards as far as Herbert and inland past Dunback, if proposed electorate boundaries are confirmed.

At present, the electorate boundary stops at Flag Swamp. The proposed changes take in a large amount of Waitaki, with Palmerston being the main population centre.

Dunedin North and Waitaki are the only electorates south of the Waitaki River to receive a change in the Representation Commission proposals released yesterday.

South Island electorates are fixed at 16 by the Electoral Act. Those which did not change were Nelson, Kaikoura, West Coast-Tasman, Dunedin South, Clutha-Southland, Invercargill and Ilam.

Dunedin North MP David Clark said most of the new areas which might be included in his electorate had strong ties to Dunedin.

But he could understand those at the top end of the electorate considering whether their links to Oamaru were stronger.

''As the buddy MP for Waitaki, I have been door-knocking in Hampden and Moeraki and I am comfortable with any shift north as I have connections into those communities.''

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse, a Dunedin-based list MP who has twice previously stood in Dunedin North said he was committed to standing in the 2014 election but no final decision had yet been made on where.

''That will be a function of what's in the best interests of my family and the National Party. My commitment will be to increasing the party vote for National in the next election in whichever areas form part of the electorate in which I stand,'' he said.

Green co-leader Metiria Turei said she hoped to stand again in Dunedin North next year.

Dr Clark said it was obvious a rebalancing of electorates would be needed, as Waitaki, held by National MP Jacqui Dean, was over the population quota of 59,579, although there was a tolerance of 5%.

Many East Otago High School pupils and teachers already lived in Dunedin North and many people in Palmerston gravitated towards Dunedin for services, he said.

The increase in dairy farming in Southland and the growth of population in Queenstown appear to be the reasons for Clutha-Southland, Invercargill and Dunedin South staying the same.

In past boundary changes, Dunedin South has pushed south, Invercargill has been expanded and Clutha-Southland has taken in more of the region's more densely populated areas, such as Queenstown.

The lack of changes mean Dunedin South will likely stay Labour and the other two will remain with National, despite Clutha-Southland MP and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English deciding to become a list MP and rumours that Invercargill MP Eric Roy will retire at the next election.

Christchurch will receive major changes in the redrawing of boundaries, because of significant population movement from the Christchurch East, Christchurch Central and Port Hills electorates, following the earthquakes.

At the same time, Waimakariri, Wigram and Selwyn have increased beyond permitted electoral population limits.

Key South Island changes. -Christchurch East has gained population at Shirley and Mairehau from Christchurch Central and at Bromley from Port Hills.

Christchurch Central has gained population at Redwood from Waimakariri and at Sydenham and Beckenham from Port Hills.

Selwyn has lost Banks Peninsula and Halswell to Port Hills and gained Hei Hei from Wigram.

The timetable
December 23: Objections received
January 14: Representation Commission releases summary of objections received
January 29: Counter objections received
February 19: Public hearings of objections and counter objections
April 17: Final electorate boundaries published


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