New Zealand Election Campaign Nearing End as Labour Faces Possible Defeat
Labour Urges Voters to Re-elect Amidst Uncertain Outcome
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is calling on voters to support the Labour Party in the upcoming national election. After six years of left-wing rule, polls indicate a potential change in government. However, Hipkins faces the challenge of winning back swing voters who blame the Labour Party for extended COVID-19 lockdowns and rising living costs. Despite this, Hipkins remains optimistic, stating that Labour is gaining momentum in the final hours of campaigning.
Opposition Leading in Polls, But Majority Unlikely
The centre-right National Party currently holds the lead in the polls. However, even with the support of their preferred coalition partner, the ACT Party, it is highly unlikely that they will secure a majority. Polls suggest that the nationalist New Zealand First Party will hold the balance of power. Although they were Labour’s coalition partner in 2017, they have stated they will not work with Labour again.
Desire for Change Amplified, Undecided Voters Key
National Party leader Christopher Luxon acknowledges the strong desire for change among New Zealanders. With approximately 9% of voters still undecided, both leaders have been actively engaging with this crucial bloc. In fact, Hipkins even took to the stage for a dance during his campaign. Over a million New Zealanders have already cast their votes, with nearly two million more expected before the voting closes on Saturday evening.
Uncertainty Surrounds Coalition Deals
While a provisional result is expected on Saturday night, the formation of the next government will require negotiation of coalition deals. Although polls suggest a potential centre-right coalition, the increasing support for smaller third parties introduces an element of uncertainty. Westpac Chief Economist Kelly Eckhold highlights the importance of a clean result to avoid protracted negotiations.
The outcome of the New Zealand national election is still uncertain. As the final votes are cast and the results are tallied, the country waits to see which coalition will form the next government and guide the nation forward.