Changes proposed to electoral boundaries before next year’s general election would significantly alter the Rodney electorate, which includes the Hibiscus Coast.
The changes include replacing the name ‘Rodney’, with ‘Whangaparaoa’, as well as substantially altering the boundaries.
The proposals, released by the Representation Commission last month, would see northern Rodney incorporated into Helensville electorate and the new Whangaparaoa electorate extend from Waiwera to Redvale and Okura in the south, as well as including all of Dairy Flat and Coatesville.
The adjustments are proposed because of population growth. Without them, the Rodney electorate would be 14 percent over quota, and growing, the Commission’s report says.
The Helensville electorate would gain population of 20,100 from Rodney (including Warkworth and Cape Rodney), 5000 from Northland and 4100 from Upper Harbour.
At the same time, it would lose 11,700 around Coatesville to Rodney (proposed Whangaparāoa) and a further 17,800, including the Waitakere Ranges, to New Lynn.
Labour list MP Marja Lubeck was due to be confirmed as the Labour candidate for Rodney just days after the Commission’s proposal was released. Instead, her confirmation meeting in Silverdale on November 24 focused on the implications of the boundaries.
Ms Lubeck says she is gutted at the proposals because she has got to know the area since 2017, when she became an MP. She will now have to decide whether to stand in Whangaparaoa or Helensville.
“I knew we were over quota, but I thought things might shift a little north, or east, or both. I had no idea they would make such a massive change, splitting Rodney in half,” she says. ““I feel I’ve made inroads into Rodney and people were pleased that they had a Labour representative based there,” she says.
Rodney MP Mark Mitchell agrees that it would be tough to see areas he has worked for become part of Helensville but says the changes were inevitable given rapid growth.
“We will wait to see what the final boundaries are when they are released next year, but I don’t anticipate a lot of change to what is proposed,” Mr Mitchell says.
Chris Penk has already been confirmed as the National Party candidate for Helensville, and Mr Mitchell plans to stand in the proposed Whangaparaoa seat – which he suggests would be better named Hibiscus Coast.
The proposals are open for public consultation and the final changes will be adopted next April.
Local government electoral boundaries are completely different, and unaffected by these proposals, so most of the Hibiscus Coast remains within Albany Ward for Auckland Council purposes, while Dairy Flat is in Rodney Ward.
Have your say
Objections can be made to the proposed boundaries until 5pm, December 20, online at www.vote.nz, email email@example.com or post to Representation Commission, PO Box 3220, Wellington 6140. Forms are at libraries or Auckland Council’s Orewa Service Centre or can be sent out, phone 0800 367 656.