Why and where’s Waitaki grown?

October 8, 2013

Population projections for the Waitaki District have been gloomy for years.

The trend has been for fewer people and the average age of those left getting higher.

But yesterday’s announcement by Statistics New Zealand of electorate populations from this year’s census shows that the Waitaki Electorate’s population has increased from 60,135 to 64, 962.

The electorate includes not just the Waitaki District but most of Central Otago, all of Waimate and Mackenzie Districts, part of Queenstown Lakes and part of Timaru City.

QLDC was expected to increase in population because of Queenstown’s growth but that town is in neighbouring Clutha Southland electorate, not Waitaki.

Wanaka, which is in Waitaki, has grown but more than 3,000 extra people would almost have doubled its population which is unlikely.

There’s been a mini boom in grape growing in Central which will have brought more people into the area but again I’d be surprised if it’s thousands.

Both Waimate and Waitaki Districts have had a big increase in dairy farming which increases employment opportunities on and off farm.

Could it be that anecdotal evidence of a population increase, and a lowering of the average age, because of dairying is reflected in official statistics?

The answer to why Waitaki has grown and where will come when more census data is released.


One of biggest electorates will get smaller

October 8, 2013

Statistics New Zealand’s release of census data yesterday gives the first indication of changes in electorates.

  • The number of electorates will increase from 70 to 71 at the next general election.
  • The number of North Island general electorates will increase from 47 to 48.
  • The number of Māori electorates will remain at seven.
  • The number of general electorates in the South Island is set at 16 by the Electoral Act 1993.
  • In a 120-seat parliament (excluding any overhang seats), a total of 71 electorates will result in 49 list seats being allocated. This is one less list seat than in the 2011 General Election.
  • The Representation Commission can now review the electorate boundaries for the next general election.

The excel sheet under downloads on the link above shows population changes in electorates.

Kiwiblog has checked that out and found:

Since the 2006 census, the SI electoral population has grown by 3.7%, the NI by 6.6% and the Maori electoral population by just 0.9%.

The seats that are the most over quota and must lose territory are:

  1. Auckland Central 70,406
  2. Hunua 68,951
  3. Helensville 68,026
  4. Selwyn 67,818
  5. Rodney 67,134
  6. Wigram 65,433
  7. Waitaki 64,962
  8. Hamilton East 64,577
  9. Waimakariri 64,454
  10. Wellington Central 64,374
  11. Rangitata 64,142
  12. East Coast Bays 64,005
  13. Maungakiekie 63,274
  14. Epsom 62,990
  15. Tāmaki 62,779
  16. Tauranga 62,741

So those 16 seats must shrink. What seats are under the 5% tolerance and must grow:

  1. Christchurch East 45,967
  2. Port Hills 53,667
  3. East Cost 53,960
  4. Christchurch Central 54,104
  5. Rangitikei 56,364

The other 49 seats can stay the same size in theory. But it is likely many will have some change because of flow on effects from neighbours.

The migration after Christchurch’s earthquakes is probably the reason for most of the growth in Waimakariri and Selwyn.

They will lose some ground to boost the Christchurch electorates which now have too few people.

Selwyn might have to push south into Rangitata which will then extend into Waitaki, both of which are over quota. It would make sense for the area closest to Timaru which moved from what was the Aoraki Electorate into Waitaki, to be in Rangitata.

Waitaki will have to shrink. It is now 34,888 square kilometres in area, the third biggest general electorate in the country. Any reduction in its size will be welcomed by its MP Jacqui Dean and her constituents.


Meanwhile in the real world

August 5, 2011

It is possible that Opposition leader Phil Goff did more than one thing yesterday but all we – at least the media and other political tragics – know is that he engaged in a public argument with the head of the SIS.

Meanwhile in the real world Prime Minister John Key had got up at about 5am to do some work before catching a flight to Timaru where he was met by Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean and whisked off to Geraldine for a meeting with pupils and the public at the high school.

When Goff was in the Waitaki electorate a few weeks ago, he had a crayfish lunch at Fleur’s. Jacqui and her team decided that enabling as many people as possible to meet John was more important than his dining pleasure. I provided a picnic for the entourage which they ate in their cars between Geraldine and Waimate High School where another meeting with pupils and public had been scheduled.

This visit was supposed to take only half an hour, but getting the PM away from the pupils who lined up to shake his hand, get photos and autographs almost doubled that. This had been taken into account in planning so more than enough time had been allowed to drive between stops at the legal speed limit without causing too much delay to the itinerary.

Senior pupils from Oamaru’s three secondary schools were waiting for him at Waitaki Girls’ where he delivered his third speech of the day and answered questions.

Outside he stopped to greet pupils, pose for photos and took a mintue to launch Jacqui’s campaign.

A good-sized crowd was waiting for John at his next stop in Waikouaiti where he made his fourth speech of the day.

He went straight from there to a cocktail party jointly hosted by National’s Dunedin North MP Michael Woodhouse and Dunedin South candidate Jo Hayes.

Five speeches, meeting hundreds of people and driving more than 300 kilometres in a car which had to double as a lunch room and mobile-office made it a very big day. But I bet the PM enjoyed his day in the real world far more than the Opposition Leader enjoyed his in the media.


Happy to be a list MP?

October 16, 2010

The Oamaru Mail reports the Labour Party has selected its candidate to contest the Waitaki electorate next year:

Local building contractor Barry Monks has been selected as the Labour Party candidate for Waitaki, The Oamaru Mail can exclusively reveal.

The announcement was delayed because Mr Monks, 40, was standing for an Oamaru Ward council seat in the local body elections.

At the next general election he will take on National’s Jacqui Dean, who beat David Parker in the 2005 and 2008 polls. Mr Monks faces an uphill battle to overturn Mrs Dean’s 11,000-vote majority.

Taking any seat off a popular MP is never easy and the size and configuration of Waitaki make it even harder for a newcomer.

Oamaru is the biggest town in the electorate and tends to be red but Jacqui won every polling booth in the town at the last election. She also won all but two of the 89 polling booths in the more than 20 distinct communities over the 34, 888 square kilometres the electorate covers. Getting traction with voters across that large area is a huge task for a new candidate.

The more interesting part of this announcement is the implication that David Parker isn’t seeking a seat.

When he didn’t seek selection for the Dunedin North seat after Pete Hodgson’s retirement announcement some wondered if he was going to have another tilt at Waitaki.

He won what was then the Otago seat in 2002 but lost it to Jacqui three years later. Boundaries then changed making the electorate even bigger and it gained a new name, Waitaki,  for the 2008 election. David stood against Jacqui in the bigger seat but upset local party people by conceding the seat at a public meeting in Geraldine a couple of weeks before the end of the campaign.

That he didn’t seek selection for either Dunedin North or Waitaki suggests he’s content to remain a list MP.


Maybe this time

August 5, 2010

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean’s bill on Easter trading laws was drawn from the Member’s Ballot in parliament today.

The Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Waitaki Easter Trading) Amendment Bill 2010 seeks to allow all retailers within districts covered by the Waitaki Electorate to trade on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It aims to address the anomaly that occurs within parts of the Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago areas, where Queenstown has an exemption to trade over Easter, but other towns do not.

Mrs Dean said she believed her bill had the potential to create a new era for tourism retailers in her electorate.

“I made a commitment to the people that I represent that I would keep working on Easter trading until the law was changed. Today is the first step in that process and I am pleased and proud that we have reached this milestone.  

“I am taking a regional approach with my bill this time as the entire Waitaki Electorate relies heavily on tourism, and is a busy place over the Easter period.

“Despite setbacks in the past, I am now confident that we can successfully achieve Easter trading law changes which will mean that retailers in busy tourist towns, like Wanaka, can open their doors if and when they chose to do so.

“I am not about forcing people to open on Easter Sunday, but rather I want everyone to have the choice.

“I acknowledge that some people may not support my bill on religious grounds, but I believe the time has come to recognize that many people work over Easter in essential services like hospitals, police and the fire service, and they do so without adversely impacting on family life.

“In fact many young people in tourist towns like Wanaka see extra work over Easter as an opportunity to earn extra cash.

“I am hoping that Parliament will send the Waitaki Bill to select committee so that we can have a fresh look and an informed debate around the realities of commerce over Easter, and addressing the anomalies that exist in the present laws.

“I believe people are now ready for change and I am confident that I will get the support that I need to make these progressive changes happen.”

This is Jacqui’s second attempt to address the anomalies  in current law which enable shops in Queenstown to open but prevent  shops selling  the same thing a few kilometres over the hill in Wanaka from opening. The current law also enables some businesses, for example service stations to sell a range of items normally sold in supermarkets or book shops which can’t open.

Easter Sunday isn’t a public holiday and the proposed law change isn’t a threat to religion. The law and what it allow or disallows does not make a day holy.

Nor is the proposed change a threat to employees. They will not be forced tow ork and shops which prefer not to open will be free to stay closed.

The Bill is simply an attempt to get a common sense solution for a small part of the country and it will in effect be legalising what already happens because many Wanaka retailers open illegally and accept the costs as part of their costs.

Rotorua MP Todd McLay’s bill on Easter trading was lost by a handful of votes last year.


No favours for MP

May 27, 2009

A friend was pulled up at a checkpoint this morning and noticed Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean’s vehicle stopped in front of him. The officer gave her no favours – which is how it should be – he not only got her to speak into the breathalyser he also checked the vehicle’s warrant of fitness and registration. Needless to say, she and the vehicle passed inspection.

Jacqui’s vehicle is hard to miss. It’s a four wheel drive which she needs to cope with the long distances and varied terrain she covers and the adverse weather she encounters when servicing her large electorate – all 34, 888 square kilometres of it.

The vehicle’s also blue and is emblazoned with her photo, but as her newsletter explains, not everyone gets the message:

Jacqui was completing a purchase in a shop when a friend drove her vehicle to the entrance. The photo on it is a good likeness of Jacqui but this obviously escaped the salesperson who was serving her because she turned to a colleague and asked why any woman would choose to have her photo on her car door.

He replied that perhaps it was because she needed help to find her vehicle in a crowded car park.


Dean leads ST poll of Waitaki

November 5, 2008

National’s Otago MP and Waitaki candidate  Jacqui Dean is ahead in a Southland Times poll of the Waitaki Electorate.

In the same poll conducted by The Southland Times leading up to the 2005 election, Mrs Dean led sitting Otago MP David Parker by 8 percentage points and went on to win the then Otago seat by 5.5 per cent, a margin of almost 2000 votes – righting a “blip” from the 2002 election when Mr Parker won the traditionally National electorate.

The Otago electorate no longer exists, with Central Otago and Wanaka now included in the Waitaki electorate.

It now covers 34,888 sqaure kilometres taking in all of Central Otago, Waitaki, Waimate and Mackenzie Districts with bits of the Timaru and Queenstown Lakes Districts.

Activity and publicity so far indicate Jacqui is the only candidate actively seeking both the electorate and party vote and that is reflected in the poll.

In this year’s poll, Mrs Dean leads by 14 percentage points, with 42 per cent of support, compared with 28 per cent support for Mr Parker. Third highest poller was Green Party candidate Oliver Briggs on 2.3 per cent support.

But with a quarter of voters polled still undecided Mr Parker could still take the seat if they swung his way.

Results were closer in the party vote, with 37.7 per cent of voters supporting National, and 31.7 per cent Labour. Act was on 2 per cent and New Zealand First on 1.3 per cent support.

In the 2005 election, National won the party vote in the Otago electorate by 5 per cent over Labour.

A popular MP will always win more support than his or her party because some people will split their votes, giving one to the MP but not giving the second tick to her/his party.

So while I’d expect Jacqui’s popularity to transcend party loyalty I think both she and National will get more support on Satruday than this poll indicates.

It is not a deep blue electorate but 37.7% is about 10 points below the average  support for National in nationwide polls and it would be unusual if Waitaki was that different from the rest of the country.


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