MMP may be responsible for a delay in deciding whether National or Labour gets to form the new government. With 120 seats in parliament, the winning party needs 61 to have a majority. After the last elections, Labour had 50 seats while National had 49. Labour was able to get the support of other minor parties to make sure that they had a majority and could therefore form a government.
Now we can listen to what both Labour and National promise us. Labour says they will do this and National says they will do that. If more people like National’s policies, National might win more seats than Labour.
However, no party is likely to win 61 seats. The Green Party has already said that it will support Labour. In 2005, the Greens won six seats. They hope to win more this time. New Zealand First had seven seats in 2005, but this year they may lose all their seats. Winston Peters, the leader of New Zealand First, is losing support from voters because of the donation of money from the millionaire Owen Glenn in 2005. All money used for election spending must be declared; it cannot be secret. Mr Peters did not declare it because he said he did not know about it. Mr Glenn said that Mr Peters did know. There was another matter too – the possibility of Mr Glenn being New Zealand’s High Commissioner in Monaco. Although this didn’t happen, all this talk about secret donations in exchange for jobs is not good for New Zealand First. John Key has already said that he will not have Winston Peters in his government.
However, the Maori Party is likely to win more seats than last time. In 2005, they had four seats. This election, they hope to win all seven Maori seats. This could mean that neither Labour nor National could form a government without the support of the Maori Party. The leaders of the Maori Party, Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples, have said that if this happens, they will talk to their people. They will hold meetings – hui – and ask Maori people which party to support. This of course will take time. This could mean six weeks or more before a new government is formed.