Over 2.1 million New Zealanders voted yesterday, and the two weeks prior, and NZ continues its incredibly rare record of being an unbroken democracy. We had 15 parties contest the election, and while we get divided by out personal choices and preferences, we stand united with accepting the will of our collective decision.
It was a hard night for people who supported parties of the left. I know what it is like to be passionate about your politics and belief, and to not get the result you want. Elections are not just about MPs and candidates, but the tens of thousands of volunteers and activists who give up their time and money to get involved in an election – with no regard for self-interest, but a strong regard for the country’s future. With a few exceptions, we’re all better off for their efforts – regardless of which party they supported.
I would also pay tribute to the many candidates. Most candidates are motivated by a strong desire to serve New Zealand. Candidates for Labour, National, Greens, NZ First, Maori Party, ACT, Conservatives and United Future are generally decent people who do want to contribute to a better New Zealand. Many of them take weeks or months off work, and spend thousands of their own dollars on their campaigns.
It was beyond doubt a very good night for supporters of the National Government. Again, my sympathies go out to the many good people who did want a change. The one thing inevitable in politics is change, and it is a matter of when, not if. But 2014 was a resounding result for National and John Key
This election saw a number of election records. They are:
- National first government to increase its vote and seats in three consecutive elections since the Liberal Party did the same in 1902, 1905 and 1908
- Worst result for Labour since 1922 when they got 23.7%
- Best result for National since 1951 when they got 54.0%
- Highest result for any party under MMP (in fact since 1972)
- First ever absolute majority under MMP (may change on specials)
- Best result ever for a third term Government
- The three highest party votes under MMP were National in 2014, 2011 and 2008, then Labour in 2002 (41.3%)
The focus will now go on the impact of special votes. The 120th list quotient is held by Labour, 121st National and 122nd NZ First. There could be a one seat change on the specials, but not two seats. Hard to see National falling below 60 seats.
The other focus will be government arrangements. There will beyond doubt be confidence and supply agreements with ACT, United Future and the Maori parties. Does David Seymour become a minister or is ACT better to try and build its brand (if it can) without being a member of the Executive. No doubt Peter Dunne will remain a Minister, and that Te Ururoa Flavell will become one. I doubt their second MP will though.
Then there is the possibility of co-operation agreements with NZ First and/or the Greens, where National and those parties may agree on some areas they can work together – even if no agreement on confidence and supply.
If the ministry stays at 28 and assuming Dunne and Flavell are Ministers, then there is room for 25 or 26 National Ministers. There are currently 23 so I would expect at least two or three new Ministers – maybe even slightly more.