Following a period of uncertainty, the official outcome of New Zealand’s election has been announced, revealing that the center-right National party will require assistance from the libertarian Act party and the populist party New Zealand First in order to establish a coalition government.
After six years in power, the Labour party was voted out of office in the October election. Preliminary results show that the National party and its traditional coalition partner Act have a narrow majority.
Last Friday, the Election Commission announced the outcomes of approximately 600,000 “special votes” which included those submitted from abroad or outside of a voter’s designated area. The National party’s initial tally of 50 seats decreased to 48 seats. Act and New Zealand First maintained their seat numbers from the preliminary results with 11 and eight seats respectively. Labour secured 34 seats, the Green party won 15 seats, and Te Pati Māori gained six seats.
The newly elected prime minister, Christopher Luxon, stated that the outcome was anticipated. He explained that this is the reason why they have been working towards strengthening their connections with both the Act party and New Zealand First. Now, they can move forward with these discussions and speed up the process.
The speaker mentioned that National Party may request a recount in the two constituencies where they were defeated by a small margin of votes – former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s district of Mount Albert and Nelson.
Luxon stated that discussions to create a coalition government were expected to extend beyond this week and into the following week. In 2017, when Peters held the deciding vote, talks lasted for two weeks with Ardern and the Labour party.
Rewording: In past elections, the left has been favored by special votes and this usually results in the right losing one or two seats. Up until Friday, there was uncertainty about whether National would be able to govern smoothly with Act or if they would have to negotiate with Winston Peters, a nonconformist politician who could hinder some of National and Act’s main policies.
Professor Andrew Geddis, an expert in political law at the University of Otago, stated that the latest results indicate that National and Act will have to depend on NZ First in order to establish a coalition. This will give Peters a much greater influence in the negotiation process.
“He stated that New Zealand First can approach the process of forming a government with the mindset of ‘You need us’ instead of being seen as just an insurance policy to gain a few more seats.”
Ben Thomas, a political analyst, referred to the outcome as a “combination of unexpected events.” According to Thomas, National party suffered losses in two seats by a very narrow margin in the special votes, and a recount could potentially alter the final results.
Professor Geddis concurred, however, he noted that the result would not alter the necessity for National to form a coalition with Act and NZ First.
The number of seats in parliament has risen from 121 to 122 due to Te Pati Māori winning more electorate seats than what was originally allocated based on their share of the party vote.
Since the 14 October election, National has been discussing coalition agreements with Act and New Zealand First. However, there is currently no set timeline for reaching a decision.
According to information from Reuters, this report was created.