New Zealand's National Party leader and Prime Minister-elect Christopher Luxon addresses the crowd during the National Party reception at Shed 10 in Auckland, New Zealand, 14 October 2023. EFE/EPA/DOM THOMAS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

New Zealand election winner in talks with nationalist, libertarian parties

Sydney, Australia, Oct 16 (EFE).- New Zealand’s National Party leader and incoming prime minister Christopher Luxon said Monday that he would speak with the nationalist NZ First party as he gets to work forming a coalition government following the weekend’s general election.

“We are going to work with each individual party, we are going to do that in a way that respects them and is done privately, constructively, professionally,” Luxon told public broadcaster Radio New Zealand without giving the content of talks away.

Luxon confirmed talks with NZ First about a potential coalition arrangement, but would not give further details. Prior to the election, he said forming a coalition with NZ First would be a “last resort.”

ACT Party Leader David Seymour speaks to supporters in Auckland, New Zealand, 14 October 2023. EFE/EPA/DOM THOMAS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

According to the electoral results, National will lead a government in New Zealand with 50 of the 121 seats in parliament.

The party so far has the support of the libertarian ACT Party, which has 11 seats.

NZ First won 8 seats, after being left out of parliament in the last election.

This party has been the subject of controversy for its defense of greater immigration restrictions and other issues such as its leader opposing transgender women using female bathrooms.

New Zealand First party leader Winston Peters casts his vote at All Saints Anglican Church in the Auckland suburb of Ponsonby, New Zealand, 13 October 2023. EFE/EPA/BEN MCKAY AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

If these alliances are sealed, the Labour Party, which won 34 seats, would be in opposition, along with its traditional allies, the Green Party and the Maori Party, which won 8 and 4 seats respectively.

Luxon has time to form a government since the official results, mostly overseas special votes, will be known in three weeks, while on Nov. 25 the Port Waikato electorate will have a by-election for a new representative due to the unexpected death of ACT candidate Neil Christensen just days out from the polls, a situation that caused one more seat to be added to parliament.

In the midst of a period of political transition in New Zealand, legislators returned to parliament Monday as National began to implement plans to form a government.

“We need to go to work now and actually get to the underlying causes of inflation, bring inflation down, get the interest rate down, get the economy growing as a result, and that is what we will focus on in government,” Luxon said.

The results of last Saturday’s elections represent a turnaround compared to those of 2020, in which Labour’s Jacinda Ardern swept the board, achieving 49 percent of the votes, unprecedented since 1996. EFE