The new electorate of Kaipara ki Mahurangi is about 85km from north to south and 2183.4km2 (excluding sea areas). It has an estimated population of 65,280 and the entire electorate is in the Te Tai Tokerau Maori electorate.
Marja Lubeck, Chris Penk, and Jenny Marcroft.
Voters in the former electorate of Rodney will go to the polls in the September General Election and vote in either Kaipara ki Mahurangi or Whangaparaoa.
The Representation Commission last month released its final report on the electorate boundary review, which started last October.
The name Rodney has disappeared and voters on the Hibiscus Coast and Dairy Flat (from Hatfields Beach south to around Paremoremo) will move to the Whangaparaoa electorate.
The remainder of Rodney and the southern part of the Northland electorate (Te Arai, Tapora, Wellsford) will form part of the new electorate of Kaipara ki Mahurangi, which also takes in the former Helensville electorate. The new electorate stretches south almost to Waitakere.
Originally, the commission recommended that this new electorate be called Helensville, but the name was changed after strong public opposition.
National MP Chris Penk, who entered Parliament in 2017 replacing John Key as the Member for Helensville, says he has taken advantage of the Covid-19 lockdown to talk over Rodney and Northland issues with fellow National MPs Mark Mitchell and Matt King.
“It was obvious during visits prior to lockdown that considerable investment is needed to get the area moving from a transport perspective and enabling local jobs and growth more generally,” he says. “I’ll be getting out and about to see issues first-hand and meeting everyone once lockdown is over.
“It seems many of the main local issues can be grouped together under the heading of ‘infrastructure investment needed’.”
Mr Penk says he will most likely have regular days based in areas such as Warkworth and Wellsford.
“I’ll be able to hold constituent meetings in my mobile office – a converted horse float nicknamed ‘Natty’.”
Labour’s Marja Lubeck, who is serving her first term in Parliament as a list-MP, was confirmed as the Kaipara ki Mahurangi candidate in early March.
She says the new electorate, which is larger than Rodney, will involve a lot more travel, but she is looking forward to getting to know the southern parts of the electorate around Helensville and Kumeu.
Marja says from early discussions, some of the main issues in the south include trains to Huapai, the north-west rapid transit link and a secondary school in Helensville area.
“Health and public transport are the main issues across the whole of Kaipara ki Mahurangi and, very likely, even more so influenced by the current Covid-19 developments.
“Clearly, however, these priorities are likely to change as the impact of the pandemic will make employment and housing issues more important to residents, due to the flow-on effects of changes to employment and businesses.
“The issues of climate change and environment will continue to be ones we need to ensure are also on the top of the list. In particular, the local ‘Fight the Tip, Save the Dome’ campaign has had my support from very early on and it was a privilege to present the petition to Parliament last year.”
NZ First list MP Jenny Marcroft, who is also based in Rodney, is considering standing again, but due to the Covid-19 situation, the process of announcing candidates has been delayed.
She says one of the biggest campaign challenges will be getting to see people face-to-face, whether it’s door-knocking or debates at local community centres.
“It may be necessary to set up virtual town hall meetings as an example of how we can engage with the community,” she says. “Holding normal debates just may not be possible unless we have eliminated the virus and although September 19 is only four months away, it’s too early to say what the protocols of the campaign trail will be.”
Ms Marcroft says the impacts from Covid-19 will be the main focus of the election campaign. The NZ First focus will be on getting people back to work as quickly as possible and for those who need it, transitioning them into new opportunities.
“One of the foundation principles of NZ First is to regain the economic ownership of our country. What this means post-Covid is that if we can grow it or make it at near competitive prices, then we will grow it or make it, use it or export it.
“It is a policy of localism, supporting our local businesses and workers, local industry and adding value to our raw products. It’s in the party’s name – NZ First – which is about far greater autonomy for New Zealand.”
The final electorates can be viewed at vote.nz where people can also check which electorate they are in.
The General Election is set down for September 19.