ELECTION2020_DIGIBANNER

From a colonial gold rush settlement in the 1860s to a modern-day tourist mecca, there's plenty of history buried in the Coromandel.

The electorate includes many townships encompassing Coromandel, Whitianga, Thames, Whangamatā and Waihī among others. Recent boundary changes saw the electorate grow east to take in Ōmokoroa, and lose Te Aroha, which is now in the Waikato electorate.

"People really identify with their own township," Alison Smith from the Waihi Leader and Coastal News said..

"Whangamatā people will see themselves very much as Whangamatā and looking beyond those boundaries, Ōmokoroa will seem like a very long way away for a lot of people on the Coromandel Peninsula."

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The Coromandel electorate was first established back in the 1880s, when gold mining and kauri forestry devastated the landscape. Nowadays the forests are regenerating and the pace of life has eased thanks to a steady influx of retirees. In fact, more than a quarter of residents in the electorate receive the pension.

No surprise, then, that the Coromandel electorate tends to vote National - apart from 1999 when it swung all the way from conservative to conservation, electing Jeanette Fitzsimons for the Greens.

"To me it wasn't a surprise that she was elected," Smith said.

"We do have a lot of residents on the Coromandel that have chosen to live on the Coromandel because of their love for the environment, and their connection to nature and the natural environment ... and they're still here."

But travel around the region is still stuck in the past, with two state highways that flood regularly and many smaller roads in desperate need of upgrades. Getting in and out of the area at peak season has its challenges - just ask any Aucklander lucky enough to own a bach here.

"The roads are winding, the roads are subject to flooding, to slips, this is a regular occurrence for residents in the Coromandel so we often have roads blocked several times a year and sometimes for days on end," Smith said.

While key issues in the electorate range from transport to the environment, the big question for this election is what difference, if any, the addition of Ōmokoroa will make to the vote.

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