Friday, 20 October, 2017

Polls close in New Zealand's cliffhanger election

NZ dollar slips NZ dollar gives up gains on Fed balance sheet unwinding
Christy Curtis | 24 September, 2017, 00:40

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.

"Jacinda Ardern has captivated the nation and has given Labour a chance", Mr Bulbul said.

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

Measured against the stern competence of the prime minister, Bill English, Ardern's approach was a breath of fresh air.

"In the next few days we will begin discussions with New Zealand First, finding common ground, and, most importantly, taking on the responsibility of forming the kind of government that will enable New Zealand to get on with its success".

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

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. But her party's immediate future is no longer in her hands. She said she couldn't predict what decisions the leaders of other parties might now make.

English - in contrast to his joke-cracking predecessor - built a reputation as a laconic and serious-minded finance minister under Key, even earning the sobriquet "Honest Bill". He spent eight years in that role before taking over the top job last December when Key resigned.

With nearly 100% of votes counted National has 46% of the party vote with Labour at 35.8%.

The general election in New Zealand has ended in a stalemate with the ruling National Party falling short of a clear-cut majority to govern for the fourth time, according to official results.

With no single party able to form a government alone, NZ First's 7.5 percent suggests Mr Peters will effectively decide the make-up of Parliament for the next three years.

But who New Zealand First will favour remains unclear.

Leader of NZF Winston Peters gave no indication which of the two blocs his New Zealand First - and its nine seats from 7.5% of the vote - would support.

English had seen his party's standing in the polls plummet since announcing the election in February, and Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party surged. The 37-year-old was greeted like a rock star at large rallies and has generated plenty of excitement among her fans. He's promising tax cuts for most workers.

The campaign has been the most volatile in recent memory, with momentum swinging from English to Ardern and then back again.

"We believe in laws and policies that support the mass majority of New Zealanders and not just a small elite".

"We've run such an extraordinary campaign and we've had such support, it would be very hard for me to be depressed", he said. I haven't done as well for them as I would have liked.

"Certainly it's been somewhat frustrating dealing with their negative campaign", Ardern said.

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