New Zealand’s National Party Set to Form Government After General Election
New Government Formation Process
After Saturday’s general election, New Zealand’s centre-right National Party emerged as the winner, but the final vote count is yet to be finalized. As of now, the country is in a transitional phase.
The provisional results from the Electoral Commission indicate that National won 50 seats, while the right-wing ACT Party secured 11 seats. This gives them a narrow one-seat majority in the 121-seat parliament. However, approximately 567,000 special votes, accounting for around 20% of the total, are still to be counted. The official result is expected on November 3, and historically, conservative parties have lost at least one seat in the final count.
If National and ACT maintain their lead after the final count, they may need the support of the populist New Zealand First party and its leader Winston Peters to form a government. National’s leader Christopher Luxon has expressed his intention to wait for the final count and is engaging in discussions with both ACT and New Zealand First.
Current Government’s Role
While the new government is being formed, the incumbent government, the Labour Party, will continue to operate as a caretaker government. According to New Zealand’s parliamentary website, a caretaker government can carry out regular governing activities and manage the country. However, it cannot make significant decisions unless there is an emergency or crisis. The caretaker government is obligated to consult with the incoming government on urgent constitutional, economic, or other significant matters, even if they disagree with the proposed actions.
Timeline for Government Formation
Once the special votes are counted, National will have a clearer picture of the number of seats needed to form a government. They will then initiate official negotiations with ACT and potentially New Zealand First to establish either a coalition or supply and confidence agreements. Christopher Luxon aims to have the government in place before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting, which begins on November 11. However, the timeline will depend on negotiations and the final vote count.
While there is no specific deadline for government formation, Parliament must convene within six weeks of the official election result.
Appointment of Ministers
The announcement of ministers will only occur once the new government is established, and these roles will likely be part of National’s negotiation process. However, it is widely anticipated that Nicola Willis, National’s finance spokesperson, will become the Minister of Finance. Winston Peters from New Zealand First and Brooke van Velden, the deputy leader of ACT, are also potential candidates for the Minister of Foreign Affairs position.
With the formation of the new government underway, New Zealand is eagerly awaiting the final vote count and the subsequent negotiations that will shape the country’s future.