Following a period of uncertainty in the political realm, the official outcome of New Zealand’s election has been announced. The results reveal that the National party, a centre-right party, will require the backing of the Act party, a libertarian group, and the populist party New Zealand First in order to establish a coalition government.
After being in power for six years, the Labour party was removed from office in the October election. The initial results showed that National and its usual coalition ally Act have a small majority.
The Election Commission announced the outcomes of approximately 600,000 “special votes” on Friday, which included ballots cast from abroad or outside of a voter’s designated area. National’s initial count of 50 seats decreased to 48. Act and New Zealand First maintained their seat numbers at 11 and eight, respectively. Labour secured 34 seats, the Green Party gained 15, and Te Pati Māori received six seats.
The newly elected prime minister, Christopher Luxon, expressed that the outcome was anticipated. He stated, “This is why we have been actively developing and strengthening our partnerships with both the Act party and New Zealand First.” He added, “Now we can move forward and expedite these discussions.”
The former prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, lost her seat of Mount Albert and Nelson to Labour by a slim margin of a few dozen votes. He mentioned that National would probably seek recounts for these two seats.
On Thursday, Luxon stated that talks to establish a coalition government would probably extend until next week. During Peters’ previous role as kingmaker in 2017, negotiations lasted for two weeks with Ardern and the Labour party.
In past elections, the left has benefited from special votes, causing the right to lose one or two seats. However, there was uncertainty until Friday about whether National could form a stable government with Act or if they would have to negotiate with Winston Peters, a nonconformist politician who could impede some of their main policies.
According to Andrew Geddis, a professor of political law at the University of Otago, the outcome indicates that National and Act will have to count on NZ First in order to create a coalition. This significantly strengthens Peters’s role in the negotiation process.
According to him, New Zealand First can view the government formation process as “You need us” instead of just being an insurance policy to gain additional seats.
Ben Thomas, a political analyst, described the outcome as a “combination of unexpected events.” According to Thomas, the National party narrowly lost two seats in the special votes and a possible recount could impact the final results.
Professor Geddis concurred, however, he noted that the result would not alter the necessity for National to create a coalition with Act and NZ First.
The count of seats in parliament has risen from 121 to 122 due to Te Pati Māori winning more electorate seats than its allotted share from the party vote.
Since the October 14th election, National has been discussing coalition agreements with Act and New Zealand First, but there is currently no specified timeline for reaching a decision.
Reuters contributed to this report