New Zealand Election Results Suggest a Prominent Nationalist Party
The final vote is in for New Zealand’s national election. Having occurred back in September 23rd, the last 17% of votes has been tallied as of Saturday, October 7th, and the dynamic is likely to change, giving deciding power to the New Zealand First Party.
The allocation of the 120 seats in Parliament now gives the National Party 56 seats, the Labour Party 46 seats, the New Zealand First Party 9 seats, the Green Party 7 seats, and the ACT Party 1 seat. This gives no party a clear majority in Parliament, which would require 61 seats.
Thus, a coalition of parties will be required to form a new government. The Green Party has already expressed interest in a three-way Labour-Green-First coalition. With just Green and Labour alone, that is around 53 seats.
This has made the nationalist populist New Zealand First Party the deciding factor in how the next New Zealand government will look. It also gives the Party a great deal of leverage in negotiations with Labour and the National Party.
At a more global perspective, this represents an occasion where the recent wave of populist parties surging many western nations could have an essential role in deciding national and foreign policy.
Other parties such as Britain’s United Kingdom Independence Party and France’s National Front have lacked significant numbers of seats to determine coalitions, but have had national impacts nonetheless.
With the New Zealand First Party now in a relatively strong position, key issues to their party, including immigration and social security policy, could become even more contentious topics of debate.
There are already discussions of what potential cabinet positions members of the New Zealand First Party could hold. This includes their party leader Winston Peters, who has held positions such as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister in the past.
Labours Jacinda Ardern stated, “Today's final election count has strengthened the mandate for change.” Now it must be decided what exactly that change will be.