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214,101 more people on census night 2013 – new electorate needed
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  07 October 2013

Number of Electorates and Electoral Populations: 2013 Census  –  Media Release

The number of people living in New Zealand on census night was 4,242,048, which was 214,101 more than at the last census seven years ago, Statistics NZ announced today.

“This means that, on average, the population has grown by about 31,000 people per year since the last census in 2006. This was slower growth than between 2001 and 2006, when the population grew by an average of about 58,000 per year,” Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said.

The increase in population means that at the general election next year there will be a total of 71 electorates. There will be one new North Island electorate, up from 47 at the last election. The number of Māori electorates will stay at seven, and the number of general electorates in the South Island is fixed at 16 by the Electoral Act 1993.

“Adding this new electorate means there will be one less list seat in the 120-seat parliament – excluding any overhang seats,” Ms MacPherson said.

The general electoral population is 2,867,110 for the North Island and 954,871 for the South Island. The Māori electoral population for New Zealand is 420,990.

This is the first information released from the 2013 Census – the official count of how many people and dwellings there are in New Zealand.

“It’s been seven years since the last census and a huge number of people and organisations – including central and local government, businesses, iwi, and community groups – are eagerly waiting for this information. It is also an important part of the electoral process,” Ms MacPherson said.

“The population number is lower than New Zealand’s estimated resident population, as it doesn’t include New Zealand residents overseas at the time of the census or the estimated number of people who didn’t complete the census. This shows the value of checking our population periodically with the census.”

“It has been our top priority to complete this work so that the Representation Commission can use it to determine the electorate boundaries and the location and name of the new electorate.”

We will release more detailed census information from 15 October.


For media enquiries contact:
Colin Marshall
Wellington 04 931 4600

Published 7 October 2013

Authorised by:
Liz MacPherson
Government Statistician


Quick facts about changes to electorates and electoral populations

Number of 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.

Image, Number of electorates, 2013 Census.

Electoral populations

  • Each electorate must have approximately the same number of people to ensure equal representation.
  • The average electoral population will be 59,731 people for North Island general electorates, 59,679 people for South Island general electorates, and 60,141 people for Māori electorates.

General elections

  • 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.
  • When the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system was first implemented in the 1996 General Election, there were 60 general electorates (44 North Island and 16 South Island) and five Māori electorates.
  • The Representation Commission can now review the electorate boundaries for the next general election.  
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