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Dunedin South is to be renamed Taieri and Clutha-Southland becomes just Southland, as part of electorate boundary changes announced today.
The Representation Commission, which sets electorate boundaries for the next two elections, this morning released the borders for the 2020 and 2023 elections.
Dunedin North now becomes simply Dunedin, with the former Dunedin South seat taking in new territory to the south and becoming Taieri.
The draft boundaries for those seats and Clutha Southland saw Clutha divided among several electorates, to the great disquiet of local mayors.
The commission report today retained the borders as originally proposed.
"The commission received a number of well thought through submissions with alternative boundaries thought out for these electorates,’’ its report said.
"Some of these alternatives resulted in less overall change but would have resulted in significant consequential adjustments to neighbouring electorates.
"These changes did not always reflect communities of interest and in some cases affected areas that were not signaled as part of the consultation process.
"After considerable and intensive discussion, the commission has confirmed the Dunedin and Taieri borders as proposed.’’
Other major changes include Waitaki losing Alexandra and Clyde to the renamed Southland seat, and the Otago peninsula moving from Taieri to Dunedin.
When the commission issued its draft electorate boundaries for public consultation, it had placed Winton and the Catlins in the Invercargill electorate.
However, strong public opposition saw both areas remain in the Southland electorate, and Invercargill was expanded to the west to incorporate Tuatapere.
The Electoral Act mandates that there must be 16 seats in the South Island, which usually requires substantial shifts of boundaries to keep population numbers in each electorate roughly equal.
"The boundaries in all five electorates in the Otago and Southland regions have had to be adjusted as they were either under or over the 5% population quota,’’ the commission said.
"The population of the electorates together was almost exactly on quota, so they have been balanced by moving population from the electorates with too much population to those with too little.’’
Assuming the election goes ahead in September as planned, New Zealanders will vote in 65 general and seven Maori electorates.
- For more see tomorrow’s Otago Daily Times.