HAVE YOUR SAY
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.