New Zealand 'kingmaker' starts coalition talks with National, Labour

New Zealand 'kingmaker' starts coalition talks with National, Labour

With the votes added to the September 23 election tally, the opposition bloc led by the Labour Party's Jacinda Ardern had closed within two seats of Prime Minister Bill English's National Party.

Despite the drop in seats, English said the final result "signalled very clearly" voters wanted National to remain in power for a fourth term.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters told local media that knowing the facts "puts us in a better position to make judgements" but would only make a decision on which party to back after the final tally and after the results become official.

"Sometimes MMP [New Zealand's mixed member proportional voting system] leaves us with an outcome that requires a little bit of extra work", she said on the night of the election.

Both major parties are now required to form coalition agreements with minor parties in order to govern, and have been be forced to woo New Zealand First's Winston Peters, an unpredictable populist who has been left as the kingmaker after winning nine seats.

Shaw also said he was "thrilled" to welcome Ghahraman to parliament as a Greens MP, and said her experience in worldwide law and human rights would be invaluable to caucus and parliament.

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'I don't think it weakens it significantly at all, ' he said, referring to National's negotiating position.

ACT has secured one seat in 2017 elections and Maori Party has been left out of the Parliament this time. NZ First's 7.2 percent is down from 9 percent in 2014. Both will need to form a coalition with New Zealand First if they are to form a viable government.

Ardern has said Labour and NZ First have many "shared values" which include exploring a manned re-entry of the Pike river mine, increasing the minimum wage, improving the education system, and a desire to address the housing crisis.

That means both leading parties are now courting the New Zealand First Party, which took nine seats, and the Green Party, which won eight, in earnest in hopes of forming a coalition government.

But some say Peters could be swayed to go to National given it would be a straightforward coalition between two parties. He wants to drastically reduce immigration and stop foreigners from buying farms.

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