Representation review pānui 6

In this pānui:
- Progress around the motu
- Developing the initial representation proposal
- Communication with Māori entities
- Stats NZ Population estimates
- Stats NZ geographic boundaries annual release
- The Commission over Christmas and New Year
14 Dec 2023

Kia ora koutou,

Welcome to our latest pānui.  This update covers:

  • Progress around the motu
  • Developing the initial representation proposal
  • Communication with Māori entities
  • Stats NZ Population estimates
  • Stats NZ geographic boundaries annual release
  • The Commission over Christmas and New Year

Progress around the motu

40 Councils are undertaking representation reviews in 2024.  Of these, 14 will have Māori wards or constituencies for the first time at the 2025 local election.  If your council is not on this list but has opted to undertake a review, please let us know:

Developing the initial representation proposal

Initial representation proposals must be resolved between 20 December 2023 and 31 July 2024.  Now is a good time to line up the key review decision points with your council’s 2024 meetings calendar.  A diagram of the full representation review timeline is available.

Diagram: Representation review timeline (PDF, 98 KB)

Our Representation Review Guidelines set out the recommended practice for your council’s review.

Guidelines: Representation review 2023 (PDF, 1.6 MB)
In this pānui, we highlight some key points for councils to consider now:

Preliminary engagement

Your council should now be underway, or preparing to start, preliminary engagement with communities.  For more on why this is important and tips for developing the initial proposal, see pānui 3.

Representation review pānui 3 (28 September 2023)

Alongside community engagement, councils should be seeking early and ongoing input from their mana whenua partners on aspects of the review in which they have an interest.  This is particularly important for councils with Māori wards/constituencies.

We acknowledge councils are also consulting on their long term plans in the first half of 2024.  Councils should consider how best to avoid overlap between preliminary engagement on representation and LTP engagement.


Considerations for Māori wards and constituencies

You’ll find detailed information about what councils must consider in relation to Māori wards and constituencies in chapter 4 of our Guidelines.

Guidelines: Representation review 2023 (PDF, 1.6 MB)

Some reminders based on common questions and potholes in previous reviews:

    • All territorial authorities with Māori wards must also have a general ward.
    • Collaborate with mana whenua partners early.  Only allowing for input via submissions, appeals or objections is not sufficient.
    • Remember to explore mana whenua preferences for total number of members, appropriate ward boundaries, ward names, and council appointments to community boards.
    • If your council’s representation proposal comes to the Commission for determination, the Commission will be keen to understand how the council has consulted with Māori in the district.


GIS requirements

GIS data helps us understand the boundaries proposed by your council.  We will be asking for GIS data at every decision point in your representation review.  We encourage you to work closely with GIS staff through your representation review.  Stats NZ will provide more detail on spatial data requirements in January 2024 and we will let you know when this is available. 

Communication with Māori entities

This week we invited Māori entities with an interest in local representation to sign up for communications about representation reviews. Thank you to councils who provided us with contact details for their Māori entity partners. To ensure a wide reach, we also invited entities listed on Te Kāhui Māngai (Directory of Iwi and Māori Organisations).

Te Kāhui Māngai - Directory of Iwi and Māori Organisations (Te Puni Kōkiri website)

This is a new approach for the Commission.  We welcome your input and suggestions for improvement.  For more background on our communications with Māori entities, see pānui 2.

Representation review pānui 3 (31 August 2023)

Stats NZ population estimates

Stats NZ has now released the customised estimated resident population data for New Zealand as at 30 June 2023, at the meshblock level.

This nationwide spatial dataset is available strictly to councils who are undertaking a representation review.  It can be downloaded from the Stats NZ geographic data service.

Stats NZ Geographic Data Service (Stats NZ website)

To request access to this layer, please contact the Stats NZ representation review team at

When reviewing meshblock boundaries, local authorities must use the most current boundaries.  More information about meshblock boundaries is available in in Chapter 8 of our Guidelines.

Guidelines: Representation review 2023 (PDF, 1.6 MB)

The latest meshblock 2024 pattern has also now been released.  This pattern is almost identical to the 2023 pattern with the exception of some minor technical changes which do not impact on population.  The Commission is of the view that councils can use either the 2023 or the 2024 meshblock pattern.  

Councils wishing to use the 2024 meshblock pattern can access it below:

 Meshblock 2024 | Stats NZ Geographic Data Service (Stats NZ website)

Stats NZ geographic boundaries annual release

The Stats NZ geographic boundaries annual release process is changing.  Historically, all geographies were published annually, whether or not there had been any change to a boundary or classification.

From the 2024 geographic boundary annual release, there will be a new process where geographies will only be created and published when they change. Meshblocks will continue to be aligned to the Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) cadastre (land property boundaries) and geographic features. These will be published annually.

Find more information about the 2024 geographic boundary annual release on the Stats NZ website here:

Geographic boundaries annual release: As at 1 January 2024 (Stats NZ website)

For further information about the changes to the geographic boundaries annual release, including a planned release schedule up to 2028, please refer below:

Changes to the geographic boundaries annual release (Stats NZ website)

If you have any questions about this change, please contact Stats NZ geospatial team at

The Commission over Christmas and New Year

The Commission will be closed over the statutory holiday period.  Our last working day for 2023 will be Friday 22 December 2023 and we will return on Monday 8 January 2024. If you are planning a break, we wish you a happy and safe holiday period.

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.