Changes to Rotorua electorate confirmed

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The National and Labour contenders for the Rotorua seat in this year's election have had mixed reactions to recently announced electoral boundary changes.

The Electoral Commission has confirmed Te Puke will move into the Rotorua electorate while Kawerau will move out - joining the East Coast.

Current Rotorua MP Todd McClay and Labour Party candidate Tamati Coffey have both welcomed Te Puke's inclusion, however Mr Coffey has expressed concerns for the
people of Kawerau.

According to an Electoral Commission report "the Commission has moved population from East Coast into Napier and then transferred Kawerau and an area around
Maketu from Rotorua into East Coast".

"It has then made adjustments to the electorates of Bay of Plenty and Tauranga to meet the quota requirements for the electorate of Rotorua,'' the report stated.

Mr Coffey said he was excited by the prospect of campaigning and meeting the people of Te Puke.

"While there are concerns unique to Te Puke, I plan on being a loud and positive voice for all the people of my region.

"It's the people of Kawerau whom I have the most concern for, as they now have their local MP sitting in Gisborne.

"I think unseating an incumbent MP like Todd is always going to be difficult and a challenge, but I have faith in my ability and that what I can offer the electorate is the best representation,'' Mr Coffey said.

He said a change in boundaries wouldn't change his focus.

"I will continue to work with people, to listen to their concerns and to represent them with honesty, respect and the dignity befitting the people of this amazing region.''

On paper, Mr McClay could increase his majority with National party voters in Te Puke outnumbering Labour voters.

He said he intended to work hard to earn every single vote.

He has also had an office in Te Puke for the past six years.

"The new electorate is now linked by two important roads which lead directly to New Zealand's busiest port.

"Both the Tauranga Direct and State Highways 2 and 33 have received significant upgrades totalling more the $500 million over the last six years.''

Mr McClay said he was looking forward to the coming election campaign and would be making a case to continue to represent local views in Parliament.

The only change to the seven Maori electorates was a minor shift between Waiariki and Ikaroa-Rawhiti which affected about 120 voters.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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