HAVE YOUR SAY

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

THE bat­tle lines may change but the play­ers in Auck­land Cen­tral look set to re­main the same af­ter an elec­toral shake-up.

Un­der pro­posed new elec­torate bound­aries an­nounced by the Rep­re­sen­ta­tion Com­mis­sion last week, Auck­land Cen­tral will lose 11,000 vot­ers from West­mere and parts of Grey Lynn to the Mt Al­bert elec­torate.

Mt Al­bert in turn will lose Water­view to a newly cre­ated Kel­ston seat.

Both Auck­land Cen­tral MP Nikki Kaye and Labour’s Jacinda Ardern still plan to fight for the Auck­land Cen­tral elec­torate in the next elec­tion.

Ms Ardern says the pro­posed changes will def­i­nitely make the seat harder to win. ‘‘ But I cer­tainly re­ject any sug­ges­tion that it be­comes safer for any­one.’’

She de­nies she will be throw­ing her hat in the ring for the newly cre­ated Kel­ston seat.

‘‘I’m not go­ing any­where. I like a chal­lenge.’’

The changes take into ac­count big pop­u­la­tion swings in Auck­land.

Auck­land Cen­tral is re­ported to be hugely over quota and is pro­jected to grow rapidly in the fu­ture.

Pro­posed bound­aries are based on a for­mula which en­sures elec­torates have a sim­i­lar num­ber of peo­ple to main­tain equal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

Auck­land Cen­tral MP Nikki Kaye doesn’t par­tic­u­larly like the idea of los­ing Grey Lynn and West­mere from her elec­torate.

‘‘I’m very at­tached to many of the com­mu­ni­ties in my elec­torate – I’ve fought hard for them,’’ she says.

‘‘If I had my way I wouldn’t lose any­thing but I do un­der­stand that un­der the law there will be changes in Auck­land Cen­tral be­cause we are so over ca­pac­ity.’’ You can ob­ject to the pro­posed elec­torate bound­aries. Th­ese should be based on the statu­tory cri­te­ria the com­mis­sion must use. Ob­jec­tions close at 10am on De­cem­ber 23. Sum­maries of the ob­jec­tions will be pub­licly avail­able on Jan­uary 14. Counter ob­jec­tions can be made un­til Jan­uary 29 be­fore the com­mis­sion con­ducts pub­lic hear­ings in Fe­bru­ary. Fi­nal bound­aries will be an­nounced by Easter next year.

Any claims the changes are po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated are ‘‘rub­bish’’, Ms Kaye says.

‘‘We just have to let the le­gal process go through and peo­ple who want to have a say should get out there and par­tic­i­pate in the process.’’

Rep­re­sen­ta­tion Com­mis­sion chair­man Bernard Ken­dall says where pos­si­ble the com­mis­sion has tried to re­tain ex­ist­ing elec­torate bound­aries and avoid split­ting com­mu­ni­ties.

But Ms Ardern be­lieves some cen­tral Auck­land res­i­dents may feel their com­mu­ni­ties haven’t been prop­erly un­der­stood in the plans.

‘‘I per­son­ally be­lieve the line carves right in the mid­dle of Grey Lynn. It’s some­what ar­bi­trar­ily placed and I’m sure there’ll be oth­ers who share that view.’’

The num­ber of gen­eral elec­torates in the Auck­land re­gion has in­creased from 23 to 24 with two new elec­torates of Up­per Har­bour and Kel­ston cre­ated. An ad­di­tional seat is needed with 110,000 more peo­ple re­sid­ing in Auck­land than at the last bound­ary re­view.

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