Election Wrap Up
In what will test the patience of many anxious voters, the results of the election are still being tallied and we don’t yet know exactly who the prime minister will be. Current PM Bill English has said that forming a new government could take weeks.
The reason for the delay is a hung parliament. While the National Party had received 46% of votes, it does not have enough seats to solely govern; neither does the Labour Party which got 35.8% of votes.
New Zealand First, a nationalist party, received nine seats which gives them the balance of power in a system that needs 61 seats to form a government. New Zealand’s First leader Winston Peters now has the powerful position of deciding who to allocate them to: National or Labour (in a coalition of three with the Greens).
Both English and Jacinda Ardern, the leader of the Labour Party, are expected to enter talks with Peters in the next couple of weeks. While Peters has previously backed English, that doesn’t rule out Labour entirely.
Ardern told reporters from 1News that she “certainly sees shared values there (with New Zealand First).” Labour have campaigned to cut migration, which aligns with New Zealand First’s principles. However, Peters’ vocal dislike of the Greens could stop him from siding with Labour.
Initial opinion polls showed Labour in front of National, although just last week the National Party were leading over Labour, showing just how close and fast-changing this election has become.
If English remains prime minister (having taken office in December after John Key’s resignation), it’ll be the fourth consecutive term of governance for the National Party. But perhaps Ardern’s campaign of “relentless positivity” (as she referred to it in an August press conference) will pay off in convincing Peters.
Only time will tell. By Tuesday October 7, all votes (including special votes, whereby the voter can’t vote in person or isn’t on the electoral roll) are expected to be counted with a final tally being released.
In the meantime, while voters await the results during this time of uncertainty, the NZ dollar dipped to US$0.7290, down 0.45%, just after the election when markets opened.