New Zealand's general elections yield no clear victor as tally ends

Posted September 24, 2017

New Zealand decided on Saturday whether incumbent Bill English will remain as Prime Minister or if Jacinda Ardern will take the top job after being leader of the Labour Party for a matter of weeks.

"As you know on tonight's provisional results, National has won more seats that Labour and the Greens combined".

Neither will secure enough seats needed to form government outright, so will need to form a Coalition government with help from a minor party.

Jacinda Ardern, the charismatic 37-year-old who only became Labour Party leader in August, is vying to become New Zealand's third female prime minister and the youngest in modern history.

Prime Minister Bill English said, "I want to acknowledge the strong performance of [New Zealand First leader] Winston Peters and New Zealand First".

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

"We gave it everything, and we got better and better", he said.

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Ms Ardern, who electrified New Zealand's election when she took over as main opposition Labour leader just seven weeks ago, signalled she had not given up hope of forming a government.

The Green Party will likely align itself with Labour, Bramwell said.

"But the voters have also indicated that there are issues they would expect to be addressed where they see Mr Peters as having some of the answers there and we would expect to get on and discuss that with him".

"Only time will tell if this election will be any different, but I think if they turn out, that will really determine whether there's a change of government".

But he is a controversial figure in New Zealand politics.

Greens leader James Shaw dismissed the alternative of forming a coalition with National saying he was "committed to a change of government".

"This party is a realistic, common-sense party, we don't like extremism", Peters said Saturday.

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These accounted for around 12 percent of the vote in the 2014 election and could have a considerable impact.

"I've always been quite confident of my community here in Nelson, there's been the Greens talking up their game a lot but Nelson's doing extraordinarily well", he told RNZ earlier. I believe in New Zealand, I'm trying to improve New Zealanders.

But another National ally, the Maori party, faced electoral wipeout, failing to meet the threshold to win a place in parliament, and losing the seats of its two co-leaders, Te Ururoa Flavel and Marama Fox.

Figures released by New Zealand election authorities show a record 1.2 million people chose to cast their votes before election day on Saturday.

"So many New Zealanders supported us. because through this campaign, we had the opportunity to share our challenging ideas about how to solve New Zealand's most pressing problems".

He would be able to extract better deals from both National and Labour if the viability of a Labour-led Government were certain.

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