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Number of Electorates and Electoral Populations: 2013 Census
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  07 October 2013
Definitions

About electorates and electoral populations

Electoral populations are calculated using data from the Census of Population and Dwellings and the electoral rolls. Electoral populations are used to determine the number of North Island general and Māori electorates. The number of electorates in the South Island is fixed at 16 by the Electoral Act 1993. This information is used by the Representation Commission to determine the general and Māori electorate boundaries.

A change in the number of electorates also affects the number of list seats in parliament, as excluding any overhang seats, the Electoral Act specifies there are 120 members of parliament.

More definitions

Census usually resident population count: the count of all people who usually live in New Zealand, and were present in New Zealand on census night. Excluded are overseas visitors and New Zealand residents temporarily overseas.

Electorate: a geographic area defined and named by the Representation Commission to elect a general electorate MP or a Māori electorate MP. An electorate is also known as an electoral district.

  • General electorate: an electorate other than a Māori electorate (Electoral Act 1993, s3(1)).
  • Māori electorate: an electorate constituted under section 45 of the Electoral Act (Electoral Act 1993, s3(1)).

Electorate boundary: the physical boundaries of an electorate, as determined by the Representation Commission according to criteria specified in the Electoral Act 1993 (s35 to 46).

Electoral Māori descent census usually resident population count: the count of people who provided a clear ’yes’ response to the Māori descent question in the census. The count also includes a proportion of those who did not provide a clear 'yes' or 'no' response to the question. This proportion takes account of respondents who answered 'don't know', who provided a multiple response (eg 'yes' and 'don't know'), or who did not provide a response at all to the question.

Electoral population: the census usually resident population count, as shown in the last Census of Population and Dwellings.

  • General electoral population: the total ordinarily resident population as shown in the last Census of Population and Dwellings, with the exception of the Māori electoral population (Electoral Act 1993, s3 (1)).
  • Māori electoral population: the total number of people registered as voters in the Māori electorates, plus a proportion of people of New Zealand Māori descent who are not registered as electors of any electorates, plus a proportion of the people of New Zealand Māori descent under the age of 18 years (Electoral Act 1993, s3(1)).

Electoral population quota: the average population in an electorate. See ‘Calculating electorates, numbers, and quotas’ in data quality for more information.

Electoral roll: the list of all registered voters for a particular electorate; kept by the Registrar of Electors.

  • General electoral roll: a collective name for all rolls for the general electorates.
  • Māori electoral roll: a collective name for all rolls for the Māori electorates.

Māori Electoral Option: the period after each census when each person on the Māori roll, and each person on the general roll who said they were Māori or of Māori descent when they last registered as a voter, is able to choose whether to be enrolled on the Māori roll or on the general roll for the period until the next Māori Electoral Option.

Overhang seats: the name given to electorate seats won by a registered political party that are in excess of the total number of seats the party would otherwise be entitled to – based on its share of party votes.

Representation Commission: an independent body that decides the boundaries of the general and Māori electorates after each five-yearly Census of Population and Dwellings and Māori Electoral Option.

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