Otago (New Zealand electorate)

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Otago was a New Zealand parliamentary electorate first created for the 1978 election, which was replaced by the Waitaki electorate and Clutha-Southland electorates for the 2008 election. Its last representative was Jacqui Dean of the National Party.

Population centres

The 1977 electoral redistribution was the most overtly political since the Representation Commission had been established through an amendment to the Representation Act in 1886, initiated by Muldoon's National Government.[1] As part of the 1976 census, a large number of people failed to fill out an electoral re-registration card, and census staff had not been given the authority to insist on the card being completed. This had little practical effect for people on the general roll, but it transferred Māori to the general roll if the card was not handed in. Together with a northward shift of New Zealand's population, this resulted in five new electorates having to be created in the upper part of the North Island.[2] The electoral redistribution was very disruptive, and 22 electorates were abolished, while 27 electorates were newly created (including Otago) or re-established. These changes came into effect for the 1978 election.[3]

When the electorate was first formed, it mostly replaced the Otago Central electorate, but also gained areas from the Clutha electorate (including Tapanui and Lawrence) and the coastal strip north of Dunedin from the Oamaru electorate (including Waikouaiti, Palmerston, and Hampden). The main towns that came from the Otago Central electorate were Queenstown, Alexandra, Cromwell, and Wanaka.[4] In the 1983 electoral redistribution, the southern boundary moved north and some towns transferred to the Clutha electorate, including Tapanui, Lawrence, and Roxburgh. To compensate, some outer suburbs of Dunedin on the northern part of Otago Peninsula were gained from the Dunedin North electorate, including St Leonards and Ravensbourne.[5]

The electoral redistribution carried out for the 1996 election saw the electorate move further north to now include Twizel. The electoral redistribution carried out after the 2006 census saw Otago abolished, with its area split between the Waitaki and Clutha-Southland electorates.


The Otago electorate was first won by Warren Cooper of the National Party in 1978, who had been the representative for the Otago Central electorate since the 1975 election.[6] When Cooper retired at the 1996 election, he was succeeded by Gavan Herlihy.[7] Although Otago was a reasonably safe seat for the National Party, that party's poor showing at the 2002 election saw the Otago constituents elect a Labour MP, David Parker.[7][8] Three years later in 2005, a swing to National in provincial New Zealand unseated Parker in favour of National's Jacqui Dean.[9] When the Otago electorate was abolished in 2008, Dean transferred to the Waitaki electorate.[10]

Members of Parliament


 National    Labour    ACT  

Election Winner
1978 election Warren Cooper
1981 election
1984 election
1987 election
1990 election
1993 election
1996 election Gavan Herlihy
1999 election
2002 election David Parker
2005 election Jacqui Dean
(Electorate abolished in 2008; see Waitaki)

List MPs

Members of Parliament elected from party lists in elections where that person also unsuccessfully contested the Otago electorate. Unless otherwise stated, all MPs' terms began and ended at general elections.

Election Winner
2002 election Gerry Eckhoff
2005 election David Parker

Election results

2005 election

2005 general election: Otago[9]

Blue background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list.
Yellow background denotes an electorate win by a list member, or other incumbent.
A Green tickY or Red XN denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±% Party votes % ±%
National Jacqui Dean 17,364 16,333
Labour Red XN David Parker 15,369 14,573
Green Jane Pearce 1,596 2,251
ACT Gerry Eckhoff 848 585
United Future Gerald Telford 620 783
Progressive Barry Silcock 270 389
Democrats Richard Prosser 133 53
Direct Democracy Simon Guy 88 36
NZ First   1,407
Destiny   132
Legalise Cannabis   106
Māori   63
Christian Heritage   38
Alliance   26
99 MP   11
Libertarianz   10
Family Rights   7
RONZ   6
One NZ   4
Informal votes 331 104
Total Valid votes 36,288 36,813
National gain from Labour Majority 1,995

2002 election

2002 general election: Otago[8]

Blue background denotes the winner of the electorate vote.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list.
Yellow background denotes an electorate win by a list member, or other incumbent.
A Green tickY or Red XN denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±% Party votes % ±%
Labour David Parker 14,113 12,943
National Red XN Gavan Herlihy 13,429 8,472
ACT Gerry Eckhoff 1,294 1,919
United Future Allan Smellie 1,115 1,779
Christian Heritage Mike Ferguson 544 431
Progressive Hessel van Wieren 438 528
Alliance Sam Huggard 441 260
Green   2,598
NZ First   2,127
ORNZ   635
Legalise Cannabis   232
One NZ   19
NMP   7
Mana Māori   4
Informal votes 489 92
Total Valid votes 31,374 31,954
Labour win new seat Majority 684

1999 election

Refer to Candidates in the New Zealand general election 1999 by electorate#Otago for a list of candidates.


  1. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 8–9, 51, 119.
  2. ^ McRobie 1989, p. 119.
  3. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 115–120.
  4. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 117, 121.
  5. ^ McRobie 1989, pp. 121–125.
  6. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 190.
  7. ^ a b Young, Audrey (31 July 2002). "Tears flow as 16 MPs say goodbye". The New Zealand Herald. New Zealand Press Association. Retrieved 12 July 2008.
  8. ^ a b "Official Count Results -- Otago". Chief Electoral Office. 10 August 2002. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Official Count Results -- Otago". Chief Electoral Office. 1 October 2005. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Jacqui Dean". New Zealand Parliament. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2015.


  • McRobie, Alan (1989). Electoral Atlas of New Zealand. Wellington: GP Books. ISBN 0-477-01384-8.
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.

External links

  • Electorate Profile Parliamentary Library
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