New Zealand elections: Nationalist party likely kingmaker after hung Parliament

New Zealand elections: Nationalist party likely kingmaker after hung Parliament”

On the final count, Mr English's National Party and current ally ACT had 59 seats, two shy of the 61 needed to win.

But Mr English and his National Party looked set to be in the driving seat until Ms Ardern, 37, became opposition leader last month.

She expressed disappointment in the result, which mean she was comparing her party's position to where it was in some polls three weeks ago (ahead of National) instead of to the incredible transformation since she took over the party seven weeks ago.

By 11pm (9pm AEST) National leader Bill English was yet to address the crowd of hundreds at his campaign event, but former prime minister John Key had declared the party's result "phenomenal".

The major parties must forge coalitions to reach a majority under New Zealand's proportional voting system, but all of the existing groupings fell short.

In the marginal seat of Hutt South, National's Chris Bishop came from behind to beat Labour's Ginny Andersen.

It was a statement in the past tense and it did not say negotiate with another party or an additional party.

"We hoped we could have done better and we'll do better than those polls are showing right now as they trend upwards".

"I haven't done as well for [our voters] as I would have liked", she told the crowd, who protested back loudly.

If you're lucky – Winston Peters came out firing and Jessica Mutch was first to wear
SUPPLIED 'If you're lucky' – Winston Peters came out firing and Jessica Mutch was first to wear

New Zealand First had "not all the cards but we do have the main cards", he added, saying he would not be rushed into giving any answers immediately.

But it sounded like a concession speech instead of someone who leads by far the biggest party in an alternative combination of parties to National.

So in addressing the nation after 11 o'clock last night, English wasted no time in declaring his intention to deal with Peters, to respect him and effectively to seek his party's help in addressing the regional and social issues highlighted so starkly in the torrid election campaign.

"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.

She turned her flagging party's fortunes around in a matter of weeks but National, which has pinned its re-election bid on the economy's strong performance, has regained ground in recent opinion polls. I believe in New Zealand, I'm trying to improve New Zealanders.

That equates to about half of all the votes likely to be cast in the nation of just under 5 million people.

As well as elect a member for their electorate, voters also get a second vote where they vote for a party directly.

She talked about contacting James Shaw. New Zealanders voted for a change - more parties voted against National than for it.

A record 1.2 million ballots were cast before the day of the election, accounting for about a third of the 3.3 million New Zealanders enrolled to vote.

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