New Zealand coalition efforts intensify after final results give no clear victor

Lawrence Cooper
October 8, 2017

Each are now in need of New Zealand First's nine seats to hold government which saw no change by the special votes counted along with the Act party's one seat.

Prime Minister Bill English, who has led New Zealand for nine years, denied the new result weakened his party's position in negotiations with New Zealand First's erratic leader, Winston Peters (top photo).

"I know we've got that real core of support in New Zealand, especially being the Green movement, it's such a part of New Zealand's identity", she said on election night.

Today's final election count has strengthened the mandate for change, and for negotiations to continue in earnest, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.

A former National Party lawmaker, Peters has formed coalitions in the past with both National and Labour.

Shaw was the first political party leader to react, welcoming new MP Golriz Ghahraman, who came to New Zealand as a child and refugee from Afghanistan, and arguing for a "full coalition" with the Labour and New Zealand First parties to form the "first true MMP Parliament" since the country moved to proportional representation voting in 1996.

"Not since 1969 has the National Party finished ahead of the Labour opposition at four successive elections, and I want to thank everyone involved in this historic achievement", English said in a statement.

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"The results released today push us closer towards the change of government that so many New Zealanders want", he said.

A Labour, Greens, NZ First coalition would now hold a three-seat majority after the final tally.

In the 120-seat parliament, 61 seats are needed for a ruling majority.

Ardern has said Labour and NZ First have many "shared values" which include exploring a manned re-entry of the Pike river mine, increasing the minimum wage, improving the education system, and a desire to address the housing crisis.

Peters, leader of the nationalist New Zealand First party, said on Twitter that he would speak with the National Party in the morning and Labour in the afternoon, in the country's capital, Wellington.

He has opened preliminary coalition talks with both parties in recent days and given himself a deadline of next Thursday to make a decision.

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