by Anna Dowling
New Zealand had a general election on Saturday 14 October but there is still no new government. One reason for this is that special votes needed to be counted, and that takes a long time. People can make a ‘special vote’ if they are not in their home electorate when they vote, or if they are overseas, or if they enrol to vote on the day of the election. Their votes needed to be checked and counted separately, and as there were 603, 257 special votes, the Electoral Commission had three weeks to do that counting.
The official results were released on Friday 3 November. There were a few changes to the results announced on 14 October. Now the National Party has 48 seats in Parliament, whereas on election night they had 50 seats. The results for the other parties are: Labour has 34 seats, the Green Party has 15, the Act Party has 11 seats, New Zealand First has 8 seats, and Te Pāti Māori has 6 seats. The National Party won 38.06% of the party votes, while Labour won 26.91%. Given these numbers, it is clear that National will lead the next government. Now the National Party, Act and New Zealand First are negotiating the details for a coalition agreement. They will work together to form a new government, but each party has different policies so now they need to discuss how they can work together, what the policy priorities are, and which roles (for example, Deputy Prime Minister, or Minister of Finance) the various members of each party will have. We have to wait and see what the agreement will be.
electorate – in New Zealand, an area that has its own Member of Parliament (MP). All the people who live in that area can vote to choose their MP.
enrol – to officially arrange to join a course, school, or university – or here, to vote
negotiate – to discuss something in order to reach an agreement
coalition – a group of two or more political parties who form a government