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National Party rising star John Key won't be able to vote in the Helensville electorate he represents in the election this year.

The shadow finance minister will appear in the 2005 rolls in Epsom, where he shares an $8 million Parnell home with his wife and two school-age children.

The former banker, who owns six New Zealand homes, said he made the change to clear up potential misunderstanding. Mr Key and his wife, Bronagh, are listed in electoral rolls for 2002, 2003, and 2004 as "residing" at a Waimauku address in the Helensville electorate, but have never lived there.

Labour Party president Mike Williams said his party would file a complaint with the Electoral Enrolment Centre alleging a breach of regulations.

But Mr Key said he had complied with the law, which he understood allowed him to deem one of his addresses as his home. In 2002, when he was selected as National's candidate to stand in Helensville, the Parnell property was a building site and he was about to sell the Remuera townhouse in which the family lived.

The idea of having a property in the Helensville electorate and spending weekends there appealed but the reality of life as an MP made this impractical.

His electorate secretary, who commuted from South Auckland, moved in and is also listed on the 2003 and 2004 Helensville rolls as living at the address. Mr Key said he had got a private legal opinion, checked with electoral officials, and late last year raised it with the Clerk of the House, David McGee, QC.

"It was nothing to do with anything cute. People knew we were building in Parnell."

The Waimauku property - a Victorian villa on a 2ha block in Waikoukou Valley Rd for which he paid $630,000 - is for sale.

Electoral Act rules for determining place of residence include "where that person chooses to make his or her home by reason of family or personal relations, or for other domestic or personal reasons".