New Zealand Polls Close After Nail-Biting Race, Record Numbers Vote in Advance

by Antonio Miles September 24, 2017, 0:23
New Zealand Polls Close After Nail-Biting Race, Record Numbers Vote in Advance

Since she became leader seven weeks ago, Ardern's popularity has carried Labour from 24 per cent in polls to a 36 per cent election result, leaving the party with the thinnest of hopes to form a government - if it can coax Winston Peters' NZ First party to join a Greens-Labour coalition over one with National.

Making the task harder for Mr English, the tiny Maori Party, whose two lawmakers helped National reach a majority in the last Parliament, has failed to secure any seats.

The nationalist New Zealand First Party had 7.1 percent of the vote so far, tipping it as a likely kingmaker in the German-style proportional representation system.

Under strict election day laws New Zealand does not allow exit polls during voting, which opened at 9am (2100 GMT Friday) and closed at 7pm (0700 GMT).

Labour's Jacinda Ardern was vying to defeat Prime Minister Bill English in Saturday's NZ election.

"I will not be giving any answers tonight or tomorrow until I've had a full chance to talk to our full board of New Zealand First, our supporters and organisations around the country and our MPs".

He pointed out that National outpolled Labour and the Greens combined, saying voters had shown a clear preference for the centre-right party. In the next few days we will begin discussions with New Zealand First in finding common ground and most importantly forming the kind of Government that will allow New Zealand to get on with the success.

English was in the driving seat to win a fourth term until Ardern took over the Labour Party last month.

Supreme court bashes IEBC for Kenyatta's voided election
The paper also reported that Mr Nguma included phone records in his petition to the JSC, which he believes proves his allegations. The justices said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission had not verified the results before announcing them.

Despite slipping in the polls, Labour has remained optimistic.

"I know that our parties don't agree on everything, but now is the time to put those differences aside and to work together to create the government of change that New Zealanders want", Greens leader James Shaw told supporters.

Ardern and English were expected to maintain fiscal prudence, but to differ on monetary policy, trade and immigration.

In the past, he has raised concerns about New Zealand becoming an "Asian colony" and warned about migrants taking jobs from locals.

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.

The numbers say she is an alternative Prime Minister but her tone did not suggest it.

Farmer and former policeman Matt King holds a 1299-vote lead over Mr Peters with more than 96 per cent of the vote counted.

Voter engagement was high, with more than 800,000 taking advantage of early voting by Thursday, nearly double the number who had done so at an equivalent point in the last election.


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