Ōtaki electorate set to lose towns

Four objections have been lodged against a plan to shift Shannon and Tokomaru from the Ōtaki electorate into Rangitikei.

The Representation Commission’s proposed changes to electorate boundaries for this year’s election include a move for voters in Shannon and Tokomaru.

The commission released a summary this week of the objections to its numerous boundary changes around the country.

In total there were 409 objections, including four related to the Ōtaki/Rangitikei change.

Two of those objections came from individuals, the other two came from the Horowhenua District Council and the Labour Party.

All four objections said Shannon had little in common with the area covered by Rangitikei. One of the biggest North Island electorates, Rangitikei includes Linton, Feilding, Marton, Taihape, Raetihi and Taumarunui within its borders.

The boundary change was proposed as the population in Rangitikei had shrunk and the electorate needed to pick up more people.

The Horowhenua District Council’s objection says there is a shared community of interest between Shannon and Tokomaru and the rest of the Ōtaki electorate, which runs down through to the Kāpiti Coast.

“The Horowhenua District Council believes Shannon and Tokomaru are best served by a single, committed parliamentary representative in one focused and manageable electorate,” the submission says.

It goes on to say that the views of Shannon and Tokomaru “hold weight” in the Ōtaki electorate.

“In the geographically much larger Rangitikei area, demanding for any MP to get around, Shannon and Tokomaru could well be overlooked and disadvantaged, sitting as they do at the south end of a 260-kilometre long electorate.”

Counter objections can be placed with the Representation Commission until January 29, with final decisions to be released in April.