No clear victor as New Zealand election ends in stalemate

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern has attended her grandmother's funeral ahead of NZ's election
Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern has attended her grandmother's funeral ahead of NZ's election
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24 September, 2017

The National Party waved so many olive branches towards Winston Peters last night the New Zealand First leader must have felt the winds 230 km north in Russell. Votes for the Green Party reached 6.2 percent.

"We'll make a decision in the interests of all New Zealand and New Zealand First, that is the whole country, not ourselves in the party but in the national interest and that will take some time", Peters said.

English had seen his party's standing in the polls plummet since announcing the election in February, and Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party surged.

Opinion polls leading up to the vote had been volatile with two recent ones giving National a near 10 point lead over Labour. His party has held power for nearly a decade. I believe in New Zealand, I'm trying to improve New Zealanders. "It's not over yet".

Prime Minister Bill English who spoke to his supporters in Auckland underplayed the results and said: "just short of half of all New Zealanders voted for his party" and confirmed that his party is not a position to form a government alone.

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.

"Suddenly an alternative Labour-led government (was really) looking viable", Grant Duncan, an expert on New Zealand politics at Massey University, told CNN earlier this month.

English and Ardern were expected to maintain fiscal prudence but will probably differ on monetary policy, trade and immigration.

The New Zealand dollar rose 0.7 percent to a six-week high of $0.7369 after the poll was released on Wednesday, three days before New Zealanders go to the polls.

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"The thin trading conditions typical of early morning in Asia mean a sharp but short-lived move on the NZD is possible on Monday", said Joseph Carpuso, senior currency strategist at CBA.

Under New Zealand's proportional voting system, large parties typically must form alliances with smaller ones in order to govern.

The results secured 58 seats for National in parliament, and 45 for Labour.

Labour's Greg O'Connor has won the electorate of Ohariu, the seat previously held by United Future's Peter Dunne for 33 years.

In 1996, he helped install a National-led government in return for being made deputy prime minister, then in 2005 he joined a Labour coalition after being given the job of foreign minister.

"It's all over, bar the special votes - but even they won't change the basic maths". I haven't done as well for them as I would have liked.

She talked about contacting James Shaw.

The official results of the election won't be released until October 7, when special votes - ballots cast overseas or by those who enrolled and voted at the same time, Bramwell said - are fully accounted for.


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