New Zealand election ends in stalemate

Lucy Bush
September 24, 2017

New Zealand decided on Saturday whether incumbent Bill English will remain as Prime Minister or if Jacinda Ardern will take the top job after being leader of the Labour Party for a matter of weeks.

On the eve of the election, the NZ Herald Election Forecast predicted National would win 56 seats while a Labour-Green coalition would win 54.

With 90 per cent of the votes counted, National looks to have secured 58 seats in the next parliament but even with their sole surviving current coalition partner it's still not enough to get them over the line.

Prime Minister Bill English who spoke to his supporters in Auckland underplayed the results and said: "just short of half of all New Zealanders voted for his party" and confirmed that his party is not a position to form a government alone.

New Zealand has a proportional voting system in its general elections.

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"There's conversations that need to be had and we're open to those", she said.

Ms Ardern said as leader she took responsibility for Labour's 10-point loss.

"But the voters have also indicated that there are issues they would expect to be addressed where they see Mr Peters as having some of the answers there and we would expect to get on and discuss that with him". She said Labour hadn't "done as well as I would have liked" but she would continue to be "relentlessly positive".

It sounded more like a stump speech than one created to win Winston and influence New Zealand First or one that expressed commiserations for the three MPs who have lost seats, Mojo Mathers, Barry Coates and Denise Roche.

Despite a hectic and changeable election campaign, the mental strength of National's members had pulled the party through, he said. Because Peters always said he'd talk to the biggest party first.

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"I've come off the field knowing we gave it our all", she said. Labour calls for renegotiating the TPP so that the New Zealand government can maintain the right to restrict foreign nationals from purchasing property.

Votes for the Green Party, which has a working agreement with Labour, reached 5.8 per cent.

He would be able to extract better deals from both National and Labour if the viability of a Labour-led Government were certain.

"I know that our parties don't agree on everything, but now is the time to put those differences aside and to work together to create the government of change that New Zealanders want", Greens leader James Shaw told supporters. "So Winston Peters rules", said Bryce Edwards, analyst at Wellington-based Critical Politics. The numbers could change after other votes, including overseas ballots, are counted.

The official results of the election won't be released until October 7, when special votes - ballots cast overseas or by those who enrolled and voted at the same time, Bramwell said - are fully accounted for.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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