What is the boundary review?

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

The current boundary review is taking place between October 2019 and April 2020 and will fix new boundaries for the 2020 and 2023 general elections.

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

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 in those electorates will be:

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

The boundaries of eight South Island general electorates, eleven North Island general electorates and three Māori electorates will have to change as there are either too many or too few people living in those areas.

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

What happens in a boundary review

When the boundary review starts, 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.

Find out more about what happens in a boundary review

For more detailed information, download our guide:

Guide to the 2019 Boundary Review  (PDF, 1.3MB)

Who reviews electorate boundaries?

The Representation Commission is an independent body. Public officials and Government and Opposition appointees make up the Commission. A current or retired judge usually chairs it.

Read more about the members of the Representation Commission

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