Residents of Brightwater will have a new choice to make in future general elections. The town, which has always been part of the Nelson electorate boundary and currently has Nick Smith as its MP, will be moving to the Tasman/West coast electorate for the 2020 general election.

The Representation Commission, the independent body that reviews the boundaries and names of electorates, has transferred Brightwater to the West Coast – Tasman electorate as a proposed boundary change.

The commission says that the the population for the West Coast-Tasman electorate has dropped too low, and needs a larger population to remain an electorate.

“Brightwater, with a population of 2100, is added from neighbouring Nelson,” the report says. “Brightwater is the only neighbouring area where enough population can be added to West Coast-Tasman without crossing the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana.”

Nelson MP Nick Smith isn’t pleased with the proposed changes.

“I am disappointed for Brightwater as it has more in common with Richmond and Nelson than Motueka and the West Coast.”

Nick also acknowledges that population is a factor.

“This change for Brightwater is a product of population numbers. Nelson’s population has been growing significantly faster than the West Coast/Tasman area. It is going to be very hard to reverse this proposal with the law requiring only a 5% variation in population between electorates.”

Having been the MP for the area for a long time, Nick has been involved with Brightwater frequently, most recently forming a trust to secure land at Snowden’s Bush in Brightwater for public use.

“I’m personally disappointed to be losing Brightwater because it was my home for many years and I love the community. I take my constituency responsibilities very seriously and will be continuing to work for the Brightwater community right up to the election next year.”

Residents can object to the changes until December 20. The final electorate boundaries and names will be formally published in April next year.

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