Labor led by Jacinda Ardern won the New Zealand elections – then some.
The party is expected to win 64 seats in the 120-seat parliament, an achievement that is rarely achieved.
The opposition National Party was humiliated, garnering only 25 percent of the vote after a campaign marred by “a series of interpretations,” as a former minister noted.
Despite this, leader Judith Collins cheerfully directed Arnold Schwarzenegger and said, “We shall return” after her crushing defeat.
One commentator described the landslide result obtained by Ardern as “defying logic.”
At times during her victory speech on Saturday night in Auckland, Ardern seemed confused about how well her party was doing.
“New Zealand has shown the Labor Party its greatest support in at least 50 years,” she said.
“We won seats that we were hoping for, and many of them we didn’t expect,” she said before catching her breath.
That’s why I only have two simple words: ‘Thank you.’
Labor was expected to win – but not by that much.
A prestigious New Zealand TV poll saw the Labor party 44 per cent and the National 31 per cent.
This would have been an impressive outcome for the Labor Party in anyone’s books and potentially lead to a formal alliance with the Greens to cross the line.
But with nearly all of the votes counted, Labor received 49 percent and National’s 27 percent.
New Zealand’s mixed proportional representation voting system means that no one has heard of majority government.
Under the mixed proportional representation system, introduced in the mid-1990s, the Kiwi received two votes. The first is a traditional vote for a local deputy; The other is a “party vote” with the seats divided on the basis of quotas.
This means that small parties like New Zealand First, ACT and the Greens have often been the kingmakers.
The greatest victory in history
In 2017, the Labor Party ranked second, but the deals with NZ First and the Greens prompted them to overtake the National to demand the government.
A workers majority was just a distant dream in 2020. However, here it is.
“This result defies logic because we bought into MMP so we’re not going to swing right or left,” said Ryan Bridge of Media Outlet Newshub.
“The result says, Who cares about MMP?”
New Zealand HeraldPolitical columnist Matthew Hutton, who was once in the opposition, said this was “the biggest electoral victory in history”.
While he may seem like arrogance, he’s probably right. Neither party did a good job under the MMP system.
He said, “If you put together the left – the Labor Party and the Green – that would represent 58 percent of the vote.”
“This puts Jacinda Ardern in the structure of historic New Zealand prime ministers.”
How did he work
Just months ago, National was overtaking the Labor Party and it was expected to topple the party. This massive shift is traced back to Mrs. Ardern who united the nation during a pandemic that saw Labour’s rankings soar.
Patriotic mistakes also helped the party. The opposition passed by three leaders within months and they were dispersed.
Former Nationalist Minister Chris Finlayson joined his old party.
“The campaign was a bunch of roosters,” he told Newshub.
“This is what happens when you talk about yourself, not the issues.”
Labor prevailed by exiting its main seats – those in the urban centers of Oakland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin as well as Maori voters and a few provincial seats.
However, it has now prevailed in places like Hamilton, Wanganui and New Plymouth.
He lost only one seat – Maori voters in Wyariki which Maori won.
The Prime Minister said she would not take the huge support offer for granted.
“We will be a party that governs every New Zealander.” She said that governing every New Zealander has never been more important.
“The business will be driving in the next three years, and over the next three years, there is a lot to do.
“We will build back better from the COVID crisis.”
Meanwhile, National has suffered losses across the board including the coveted Auckland Central seat chosen by the Greens.
And in a gentle but not emotional concession letter, Mrs. Collins said she congratulated Mrs. Ardern.
“Did the boy know this was going to be tough,” Collins told the audience.
Then she received a more bleak note.
New Zealand faces a difficult economic journey.
“You will need a better fiscal policy than we have seen so far.”
It ended on an upward note.
“It will be three years in the blink of an eye and I say to everyone,” We will return. “Bring in 2023.”
Vice President loses
Maverick, former Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand’s First Winston Peters lost his seat.
Peters was instrumental in handing the Labor government and Ardern the highest office in 2017.
The populist politician said that he decided to side with the Labor Party in 2017, instead of National which at the time was in power and who was expected to stand by it, in order to “change the status quo.”
However, his party vote collapsed in 2020 and is currently only 2.5 percent, well below the 5 percent threshold required for MPs.
He said the elections, held against the backdrop of COVID-19, were “like anyone we’ve seen before.”
“Three years ago, we committed ourselves to being a constructive partner in the government,” he said at the meeting.
Ardern may not agree with how constructively Peters has fought back against many Labor policies. But he was also a suitable person to blame if things went wrong, something that workers’ majority government would not enjoy.
Ms Ardern said she was “very respectful” to the former Deputy Prime Minister.
“I hope he feels proud of what he has contributed in the past three years. I definitely do.”
Greens may be frozen
The liberal ACT was a big winner, jumping from one member to ten MPs. The Greens would also likely pick another deputy to reach 10.
But the Greens may have been concerned about Ms. Ardern’s speech – it failed to mention the party or any proposal for a formal alliance or agreement.
The Greens will certainly not be in a good bargaining position and it will be difficult for them to demand much.
But Labor may not want to be too arrogant. Many commentators think this could be a loud watermark to work. Come to the next elections in 2023, you may need a coalition partner to govern.
You may want to keep the Green Party in line, even if it isn’t in desperate need of the party right now.
In her Oakland Town Hall speech, Mrs. Ardern seemed aware that many of her voices this time had come from people who were usually full of other parties.
“Elections aren’t always great at bringing people together. But they also don’t need to tear each other apart.
“We live in a world where people have less time to see other people’s points of view.
“This election shows that this is not who we are. Let’s advance together.”