April 21, 2018

New Zealand elections: Nationalist party likely kingmaker after hung Parliament

24 September 2017, 12:25 | Simon Arnold

NZ election still anyone's game

New Zealand's ruling National Party regains wide lead over Labour: poll

New Zealand uses a German-style proportional representation system in which a party, or combination of parties, needs 61 of Parliament's 120 members - usually about 48 percent of the vote - to form a government.

For decades New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has been known as "The Kingmaker" - a role the populist anti-immigration campaigner is set to play again after the country's general election ended in a stalemate.

Prime Minister Bill English, who oversaw a disastrous election loss for the National Party in 2002, became leader previous year after his predecessor John Key's shock resignation.

She also wants to cut migration and renegotiate some trade deals, which some worry could hurt two key sources of growth for New Zealand's small, outward-looking economy.

The Labor Party with its ally Green Party of 5.8 percent votes or seven seats in the congress would just make enough seats to form a government if they can successfully get the New Zealand First Party on board.

The 37-year-old galvanized support for the ailing centre-left party, giving it a 20-point popularity boost to bring it level with National.

The results were welcomed by the National Party, which is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office.

Peters said his party will not rush into a decision.

National leader Bill English said he would start talking to NZ First in the next few days about forming a new government.

"It's possible", Bramwell said, that the Labour Party could gain power in a scenario where the party aligns with the Greens and gains the support of New Zealand First.

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

Speaking to the National Party's supporters at Sky City in Auckland, he welcomed the expression of confidence from voters, and said he would talk to Mr Peters soon, but they did not need to rush the process.

"I've called Bill and acknowledged that", Ardern told her supporters, adding she was planning conversations with both the Green and New Zealand First parties.

"I wish I could answer your question, honestly I wish I could because I've had it asked of me 1,000 times in the last five weeks", he told Radio New Zealand this week.

Ardern is bidding to become New Zealand's youngest leader since 1856 and only the third woman to lead the South Pacific nation of 4.6 million people.

Farmer and former policeman Matt King holds a 1299-vote lead over Mr Peters with more than 96 per cent of the vote counted.

In the past, he has raised concerns about New Zealand becoming an "Asian colony" and warned about migrants taking jobs from locals.

Her policy platform includes free tertiary education and slashing immigration to reduce pressure on housing and infrastructure. He was seen by many as more of a numbers guy than a schmoozer.

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