Representation review pānui 4

In this pānui:
- 2023 population estimates
- Release of data from 2023 census
- New LGC website, coming soon
- What we need from you
03 Nov 2023

Kia ora koutou,

Welcome to our latest pānui. This update covers:

  • 2023 population estimates
  • Release of data from 2023 census
  • New LGC website, coming soon
  • What we need from you

2023 Statistics NZ Population Estimates

Stats NZ have released population estimates as at 30 June 2023 for the following types of area:

    • Regions
    • Territorial authorities
    • Regional constituencies
    • Wards
    • Communities and local boards
    • Subdivisions
    • Statistical area 2

The estimates are available on the "About representation reviews" page of our website.

About representation reviews

You may note that in many districts, the size of the MEP had decreased while the size of the GEP has increased and that these estimates are different in some circumstances to comparisons looking at 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 estimates where the majority of districts and regions had an increase in the MEP.

At a national level MEP has actually increased, with differences due to changes in the distribution of Māori descent population across New Zealand, meaning that the MEP for some areas has decreased. This change in distribution is true for the total population estimates as well.

For estimates for proposed electoral areas you will need to request a customised estimate from Stats NZ. The mechanisms for doing this are set out in paragraphs 8.18 to 8.27 of the Commission's representation review guidelines.

Guidelines: Representation Reviews 2023 (PDF, 1.6 MB)

More general information about the 2023 estimates and population growth can be found on Stats New Zealand's website.

Population growth in all New Zealand regions (Stats NZ wesbite)

Release of Data from 2023 Census

The first release of data from the 2023 census will take place at the end of May 2024. However, it will only provide usually resident population for Regions, TA districts and local board areas. Data for the following areas will not be available at that time:

    • Existing wards, constituencies, communities and subdivisions
    • Statistical areas 1, 2 and 3
    • Meshblocks

It should also be noted that statistics for the Māori Electoral Population and the General Electoral Population based on the census are not likely to be available until later in 2024.

Stats NZ will communicate dates for the release of other census data later this year, but it is not anticipated that detailed 2023 census data will be available in time for councils to use when developing their initial representation review proposals. The Commission's view is that the data source used by a council for its initial proposal should continue to be used for the remainder of the process. In practice, this means that councils will need to use the 2023 population estimates (or customised data sets sought from Stats NZ) for the entirety of their representation review process.

New LGC Website Coming Soon

The Local Government Commission is in the process of updating our website. This will make it easier for councils to access information and resources regarding the representation review process. We will let you know via our pānui when this update has been completed.

What We Need From You

Thank you to the many of you that have provided us with below information. If you haven't already, please email us at with the following:

  • Your council's proposed representation review timeline
  • Contact details for your council's Māori stakeholder entities (refer to our pānui 2)
  • Council reports and resolutions on your council's electoral system
  • Council reports and resolutions on whether to establish Māori wards/constituencies - note this must be resolved by 23 November 2023.

Many thanks to councils who have already provided the above.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please get in touch with one of the Commission team by emailing

Ngā mihi

The Local Government Commission Team

The information contained in these updates is intended to support well-informed council decisions and good practice throughout the representation review process.  Specific representation arrangements are decisions for each council.  The information is provided by Commission officials and does not reflect a particular view or preference of the Commission for any specific representation arrangement.  Where representation is determined by the Commission, each determination is considered on its merits taking into account the information available to the Commission.