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Electoral boundaries

The Electoral Representation Commission is responsible for defining the boundaries of New Zealand's parliamentary electoral districts. The Government Statistician is required by section 35(6) of the Electoral Act 1993 to "... report the results of the census and his or her calculations of the Māori electoral population ...". The Government Statistician's report and maps prepared by the Surveyor-General are the basic material used by the Representation Commission in determining the revised boundaries of electoral districts.

Electoral district

After each five-yearly Census of Population and Dwellings, general and Māori electoral districts are constituted in terms of the Electoral Act 1993.

Electorate boundaries are defined at meshblock level.

The number of electoral districts and electoral populations for each electorate is controlled by the criteria specified in the Electoral Act. Within these criteria, when setting the boundaries, the Representation Commission must also consider existing boundaries, community of interest, facilities for communications, topographical features, and any projected variation in the electoral population of those districts during their life.

Refer also to ‘meshblock’.


A person is employed if they were in the working-age population (people aged 15 years and over) and during the week ended 5 March 2006:

  • worked for one hour or more for pay or profit in the context of an employee/employer relationship or self-employment
  • worked without pay for one hour or more in work that contributed directly to the operation of a farm, business or professional practice owned or operated by a relative
    had a job but were not at work due to:
    • their illness or injury
    • personal or family responsibilities
    • bad weather or mechanical breakdown
    • direct involvement in an industrial dispute
    • being on leave or holiday.

Full time: People who are employed full time usually work 30 or more hours per week.

Part time: People who are employed part time usually work fewer than 30 hours per week.

Ethnicity/Ethnic group

Ethnicity is the ethnic group or groups that people identify with or feel they belong to. Ethnicity is a measure of cultural affiliation, as opposed to race, ancestry, nationality or citizenship. Ethnicity is self-perceived and people can belong to more than one ethnic group.

An ethnic group is made up of people who have some or all of the following characteristics:

  • a common proper name
  • one or more elements of common culture that need not be specified, but may include religion, customs, or language
  • unique community of interests, feelings and actions
  • a shared sense of common origins or ancestry, and
  • a common geographic origin.

Extended family

An extended family is a group of related persons who usually reside together and consists of:

  • a family nucleus and one or more ‘other related persons’, or
  • two or more related family nuclei, with or without other related persons.

People who usually live in a particular dwelling, and are members of an extended family in that dwelling, but who are absent on census night, are included, as long as they are reported as being absent by the reference person on the dwelling form.

Refer also to 'absentee', 'usual resident' and 'usual residents in private dwellings'.

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