New Zealand election ends in stalemate

New Zealand election ends in stalemate

Kerry Wise
September 24, 2017

Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern, at home with mother Laurel, watching the progress of the election on TV.

NZF won nine seats from 7.5 percent of the vote. And they offer some redemption for English, who led his party to its worst-ever defeat in 2002. "We have the responsibility of working to give New Zealand strong and stable government".

"This has been an incredibly engaging and colorful campaign for New Zealanders and that isn't going to be over at midnight", said Bryce Edwards, an analyst at Wellington-based Critical Politics.

"I will not be giving any answers tonight or tomorrow until I've had a full chance to talk to our full board of New Zealand First, our supporters and organizations around the country and our (members of Parliament)", Peters said, according to Radio NZ.

In her own speech to supporters, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern admitted she had not done as well as she would have liked.

"I simply can not predict at this point what decision other leaders will take", she said.

"This party is a realistic, common-sense party, we don't like extremism", Peters said Saturday. The 72-year-old maverick will try to extract policy concessions and ministerial positions in return for his support in talks that could take a couple of weeks.

The National Party clocked 46% of all votes, while rival Labour Party managed 35.8%, the final tally from New Zealand's Electoral Commission showed.

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No party has claimed a majority government in New Zealand's 120-seat parliament since proportional voting was adopted in 1996.

Labour would need both the Greens and New Zealand First to oust the government, and its two potential partners have a frosty relationship.

"It's up to New Zealand First, pretty much", said Bramwell.

New Zealand First look likely to hold the balance of power, but party leader Winston Peters warned it may be some time before he decides who to support.

Ms Ardern, 37, has enjoyed a remarkable surge in popularity since taking over as opposition leader last month. He has also promised to address some of New Zealand's most pressing social issues such as child poverty and a housing shortage.

Opinion polls indicate there was a swing back to English in the waning days of the campaign after Ardern had all the early momentum.

Labour calls for renegotiating the TPP so that the New Zealand government can maintain the right to restrict foreign nationals from purchasing property.

National campaign director Steven Joyce said the early figures were encouraging for English but it was far too early to see how the election would play out.