“Tonight, New Zealand has shown the Labour Party its greatest support in at least 50 years,” Ardern said in a powerful victory speech on Saturday night where she referred to the difficult times ahead for New Zealand. “And I can promise you: we will be a party that governs for every New Zealander.”
Coalitions are the norm in New Zealand, where no single party has ever won a majority of votes under the current system.
Results are still being counted. Final results will be released in three weeks once special votes — including those cast by New Zealanders living overseas — are counted.
Labour has been hovering around 50% of the vote for much of election night. It likely won’t be clear until the final results are in whether Labour can govern alone or will need to form a coalition with the Greens, but ahead of the election, Victoria University politics lecturer Claire Timperley said Labour would be “foolish” not to have a conversation with the Greens about working together, even if Labour won an outright majority.
Labour’s other current coalition partner New Zealand First has not secured enough votes to make it back into parliament, while the right-wing ACT party is currently on 8%, up on last election’s 0.5%.
New Zealand has reported less than 2,000 total cases and 25 deaths since the pandemic began.
At the start of the year, polls suggested National and Labour could be in for a tight election. Ardern had huge international popularity, but back home some were disappointed by her lack of progress on key promises, including on addressing the overheated housing market.