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New Zealand to Get Extra Auckland Electorate for 2014 Election

New Zealand will get an extra electorate in Auckland, while boundaries will shift in Christchurch reflecting population movement after the 2011 earthquakes.

The new boundaries, based on latest census figures, were proposed by the Representation Commission today for next year’s general election and for 2017. The number of general electorates will increase to 71 from 70, with Auckland accounting for 24, the Commission said in a statement. The public has until Dec. 23 to review the proposed boundaries and make objections.

Auckland is home to a third of New Zealand’s 4.5 million people and was the fastest-growing region since the last boundary review in 2007, according to the commission. Two new seats are being created in the north and west of the city and the existing Waitakere electorate -- currently held by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett -- is being replaced.

The Christchurch earthquake led to an exodus from eastern parts of the city to western suburbs and outlying areas, leaving several seats larger than the permitted population limit, the commission said.

Across the country, 43 electorates face changes while 27, including all seven Maori seats, are unchanged.

Under New Zealand’s mixed-member-proportional system, people have an electorate vote and a party vote. The makeup of the 120-seat parliament is determined by each party’s share of the party vote, with the 71 winning electorate candidates joined by 49 from party lists.

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