Gerrymander is an ugly, ugly word. So I won’t use it. Instead I’ve made a beautiful table for you to look at. What it shows is the names and the degree of representation each of the 13 new wards (with 20 councillors between them) created by the Local Government Commission for the Auckland Super City elections will have.
|Ward||Popn. per councillor||% deviation from average popn per councillor||Degree of Representation||Corresponding Electorates|
|Rodney||54,100||-24.8||Over-represented||Rodney & Helensville|
|Albany||68,900||-4.2||Over-represented||East Coast Bays & Helensville|
|North Shore||71,600||-0.5||About right||North Shore & Northcote|
|Waitakere||79,350||+10.3||Under-represented||Waitakere, Te Atatu & New Lynn|
|Whau||76,400||+6.2||Under-represented||Mt Albert, Te Atatu, & New Lynn|
|Albert-Eden-Roskill||77,450||+7.7||Under-represented||Mt Roskill & Mt Albert|
|Waitemata and Gulf||79,300||+10.2||Under-represented||Auckland Central & Epsom|
|Orakei||81,100||+12.8||Under-represented||Tamaki & Epsom|
|Maungakiekie-Tamaki||73,000||+1.5||About right||Maungakiekie, Tamaki & Manukau East|
|Te Irirangi||64,050||-10.9||Over-represented||Pakuranga, Botany* & Hunua|
|Manukau||78,100||+8.6||Under-represented||Mangere & Manukau East|
|Manurewa-Papakura||65,750||-8.6||Over-represented||Manurewa & Papakura|
|Franklin||64,200||-10.7||Over-represented||Hunua** & Papakura**|
* Botany has only existed for one election.
** Both Hunua & Papakura have changed names but the area they cover remains similar to their predecessors, Port Waikato and Clevedon.
As you can see from the table some wards are over-represented on the Super City (most notably Rodney) and some are under-represented. The farthest right two columns of the table show what electorates the ward matches up to (each ward covers about 2-3 electorates) and also what the voting record of that ward since 2002 has been.
Electorates or parts of electorates that always vote National or Act are marked in blue. Electorates or parts of electorates that always vote Labour are marked red, and electorates or parts of electorates that have a relatively even voting record between National and Labour are in black.
This isn’t an entirely scientific exercise because the boundaries of the electorates and the boundaries of the wards don’t match up a 100%. Also some electorates have changed shape or name slightly since 2002. But it gives you a pretty good idea.
And isn’t it interesting to note that 4 out of the 5 wards that are over-represented consistently vote National/Act. While of the 6 wards that are under-represented 3 consistently vote Labour, 2 are mixed, and only 1 votes National.
Not that I’m saying the Local Government Commission did this on purpose. But given the requirements imposed by Rodney Hide that there be a separate ward for what is now Rodney District and that there be only 20 Councillors, it was inevitable.
Despite Auckland’s ward structure being skewed to make right wing votes worth more than left wing ones, I suppose Aucklanders can at least be grateful that, unlike Cantabrians, they still get to vote in October this year on who will govern their region.