New Zealand's ruling National ahead in early counting- electoral commission

Sep 24, 2017, 00:22
New Zealand's ruling National ahead in early counting- electoral commission

New Zealand's ruling National Party regained a wide lead over the opposition Labour party in an opinion poll released on Wednesday, the latest twist in a volatile campaign for a general election at the weekend.

Mr English, a career politician and a former finance minister, says he thinks a major accomplishment of his party is has been getting New Zealand onto "such a stable economic footing".

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English speaks to supporters during an election night event in Auckland, New Zealand, September 23, 2017.

Mr English revelled in his party's success, talking up the size of its vote, while also having kind words for his main opponent Jacinda Ardern and Labour.

Both parties are now courting the populist New Zealand First party, which won nine seats, to form a coalition. The centre-right governing party, led by 55-year-old Bill English, had been in power for nearly a decade.

The results were welcomed by the National Party, which is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office. English has said he will discuss the issue with New Zealand First, Radio NZ reported.

Ms Ardern said as leader she took responsibility for Labour's 10-point loss.

"It's possible", Bramwell said, that the Labour Party could gain power in a scenario where the party aligns with the Greens and gains the support of New Zealand First.

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They've been very fearless . "They need to know that everything's going to be all right even when you're not sure it is". And I'm getting better at all three". "I started to read the book one evening and just couldn't put it down".

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"It's up to New Zealand First, pretty much", said Bramwell.

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.

"We'd have probably hoped to have done a bit better but it's still early days, there's a lot of these advance votes.so I'd wait a bit longer before drawing to many conclusions", he told TVNZ.

With the campaign over, who will be the next prime minister of New Zealand could come down to the quirks of the MMP [mixed member proportional voting] electoral system.

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.

Ms Ardern has been a game-shifter for the New Zealand Labour Party, appealing to the "young and urban", according to recently resigned leader of the party, Andrew Little. With 15 percent of the vote counted, National's Matt King is leading over Mr Peters by around 100 votes.

Her policy platform includes free tertiary education and slashing immigration to reduce pressure on housing and infrastructure.

Peters, a political veteran whose fiery rhetoric has seen him compared to US President Donald Trump, knows how to extract the most from coalition negotiations.

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