Prime Minister John Key Wins Third Term

Prime Minister John Key will lead New Zealand for a third consecutive term after the National Party won 48 per cent of the vote in this year’s election.

Official results show Key’s party will likely end up with 61 seats in a 121-member Parliament.

David Cunliffe, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, conceded defeat. The Labour Party picked up 25 per cent of the overall vote, according to the Electoral Commission, while the Green Party, thought to be its likeliest coalition partner, won 10 per cent.

“New Zealanders have chosen to continue and we respect that choice,” Cunliffe told supporters. “Our opponents have built a formidable electoral machine.”

The 53-year-old Key has helped steer New Zealand to a level of prosperity rarely found in developed countries since the global financial crisis, campaigning against a backdrop of the strongest economic growth in a decade.

The engine of its growth has been the nation’s dairy industry, which is feeding large parts of Asia, and a construction boom fueled by rebuilding after a series of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

But the incoming government will face new challenges, with growth projected to fall sharply over the coming years as the rebuilding of Christchurch wraps up, prices for New Zealand’s main commodity exports fall and monetary conditions tighten.

New Zealand, with a population of of 4.5 million, has a multiparty system that allows voters to choose both the party they want in government and the candidate for their local electorate. That means governments often rule with only the smallest of majorities. Governments under the proportional-representation system, similar to Germany’s, have always been coalitions.

It is unprecedented for any single party under the current electoral system to secure a majority of seats in Parliament, as Key’s party appears to have done from votes counted Saturday. Still, there remain certain special votes to be counted by 4 October, though they wouldn’t alter the overall result.

Original article by Rebecca Howard, The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2014.

Tags: David Cunliffe  Electoral Commission  Green Party  Labour Party  National Party  Prime Minister John Key  Wall Street Journal (The)  

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