New Zealanders’ agonising wait for a general election winner is set to enter a third week, as populist “kingmaker” Winston Peters on Thursday again delayed announcing who he was backing. The South Pacific nation has been in political limbo since the September 23 polls failed to deliver a clear majority for either conservative Prime Minister Bill English or his centre-left rival Jacinda Ardern. They both require Peters’ support to pass the 61 seats needed to form a government, but the 72-year-old has drawn out the negotiations as he seeks maximum advantage for his New Zealand First (NZF) party. Peters initially gave himself until Thursday to announce his decision but reneged on the pledge earlier this week.
Articles about voting issues in New Zealand.
New Zealand opposition leader Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday (Oct 10) ruled out giving Winston Peters a stint as prime minister if she forms a government with the populist “kingmaker”. Ardern and her conservative rival Prime Minister Bill English are both in coalition talks with Peters, who holds the balance of power after the country’s Sept 23 election ended in a deadlock. There has been speculation that Peters could demand a year in the prime minister’s role as the price of his support, with some seeing it as the 72-year-old’s last chance for a shot at the top job.
New Zealand: As Jacinda Ardern falls short in election, New Zealand gets hung parliament | The Guardian
The future of New Zealand’s new government has been put in the hands of Winston Peters, a cantankerous, anti-immigration politician who prefers fishing to politics, after vote counting finished in the general election. Neither of the major parties – National, led by the incumbent prime minister, Bill English, or Jacinda Ardern’s Labour – secured enough seats to form a majority government in a frustrating poll on Saturday. National secured 46% of the vote, giving it 58 seats in parliament, while Labour took home 35.8% and 45 seats. Both parties were scrambling to form coalitions with the minor parties in order to reach 61 seats and the ability to govern in the 120-seat parliament. Peters, the unpredictable leader of the populist New Zealand First party, became kingmaker after gaining 7.5% of the vote and nine seats, although not his own seat of Northland. The 72-year-old lawyer made a teasing statement to the media about his intentions before rushing to board the last ferry home on Saturday night.
A record 806,043 New Zealanders have already voted, two days ahead of Saturday’s election. The advance voting statistics from the Electoral Commission show that by this day three years ago, 717,579 people have been to the polls. And by this stage in the election run-up in 2011, a total of just 334,558 votes had been cast. The numbers do not include overseas votes. A staggering 133,781 people voted yesterday alone, in what has been one of the most hotly-contested general elections in years. The release last night of the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton poll, conducted from September 16-19, saw National arrest a slide in the polls to rise six points to 46 per cent. Labour was down seven points to 37 per cent.
New Zealand’s jet fuel crisis is worsening by the day with airlines restricting ticket sales, politicians limiting travel to essential flights only on some routes in the final days of the election campaign and all but the most critical exports halted. Rationing is set to continue for another week after a digger on Thursday struck the sole jet fuel, diesel and petrol supply pipe to Auckland, the country’s biggest city and major transport hub for international visitors. Three thousand people a day are being affected by cancelled domestic and international flights. Another 6,000 people will be impacted by delays or disruptions to normal service, Air New Zealand said, and it had taken the “unusual” step of restricting ticket sales to all but essential or compassionate travel to try and manage the shortage.
Advance voting began Monday for New Zealand’s general election, which could see a change of government in the South Pacific nation for the first time in nine years. Election officials say just over 3 million voters are enrolled for the Sept. 23 election, in the country of nearly 5 million people. Opinion polls indicate it will be a close race between the conservative National Party, led by Prime Minister Bill English, and the liberal Labour Party, led by Jacinda Ardern. Six weeks ago the conservatives were comfortably ahead in the polls and appeared to be coasting to a fourth consecutive victory. But then the Labour Party leader quit and 37-year-old Ardern took the reins, sparking a rapid rise in the party’s fortunes that some are calling “Jacindamania.”
There are 534 candidates contesting next month’s election – with more women standing than in 2014. The Electoral Commission has officially released the electorate and party list candidates for the September 23 election. There are 16 registered parties, fielding a total of 534 candidates – slightly down on the 554 people who ran in the last election. This year the gender split is 341 men, 190 women and three gender diverse or not specified. In 2014, there were 390 men and 164 women candidates.
Three weeks ago, New Zealand’s conservative National Party appeared to be cruising to a fourth straight election victory. Opinion polls showed the party had strong support and the opposition was struggling to inspire people ahead of September’s general election. But much has changed since then due to the rise of opposition leader Jacinda Ardern, and the latest polls indicate the election will be closely contested. The latest shift came Monday, when United Future leader Peter Dunne resigned, the third party leader to quit in as many weeks. His small party supported the government and his move came as a blow to Prime Minister Bill English and his National Party. Dunne said there’s a mood for change in the district where he has served as a lawmaker for 33 years, something that’s become apparent to him only in recent weeks.
New Zealand: ‘Jailhouse lawyer’ Arthur Taylor loses appeal to allow prisoners to vote | New Zealand Herald
One of New Zealand’s longest-serving prisoners has lost an appeal to allow inmates to vote behind bars. Arthur William Taylor, who has spent about 40 years of his life in prison, and prisoners Hinemanu Ngaronoa and Sandra Wilde – brought their cases to the Court of Appeal, arguing it was discriminatory to ban prisoners from voting. The case was originally taken in 2013 by Taylor – a self-described “jailhouse lawyer”. He also sought and won a “declaration of inconsistency” in the High Court, saying a broad-sweeping ban on prisoners’ voting was an unjustified limitation on the right to vote. That decision was upheld on appeal this year, but does not mean Parliament must repeal the ban.
Around 60,000 voters could miss out on voting in the September General Election after their enrolment update packs were returned marked “gone no address”. Enrolment update packs were sent to 3.15 million enrolled voters at the end of June to check their details were correctly listed on the electoral roll for the September General Election. Voters whose packs are returned to sender are taken off the electoral roll. “Those voters need to get back on the roll now so their vote will count this election,” chief electoral officer, Alicia Wright said.