New Zealand is set for a change of government and a new Prime Minister after it voted in an election on Saturday.
The National Party, led by Christopher Luxon, secured 50 seats, falling short of the 61 required to form a majority Government.
The conservative ACT Party won 11 seats and has pledged to support the National Party – giving it enough seats to form a Coalition Government with Luxon as Prime Minister.
The Labour Party was elected to government in 2017 under the leadership of Jacinda Ardern. Chris Hipkins became Prime Minister when Ardern stood down in January.
Over the weekend, Labour secured 34 seats, compared to the 65 it won at the 2020 election.
Of the 31 seats it lost, many have gone to the National Party. However, New Zealand’s minor parties all gained seats at this election.
Who is Christopher Luxon?
Luxon began his political career when he won the Auckland seat of Botany in 2020. Before that, the 53-year-old was CEO of Air New Zealand for seven years.
Luxon became National Party Leader and Leader of the Opposition in 2021. He’s been critical of Labour’s response to the pandemic, rising crime rates and cost-of-living relief.
His election promises included reduced taxes on businesses, and a crackdown on crime.
While ACT’s support gives National the minimum number of seats it needs to form a majority, Luxon hasn’t ruled out working with another party as well.
NZ First won eight seats at the election and has previously worked with governments from both major parties.
A National-ACT-NZ First Coalition would give the new Government 69 seats in NZ’s one house of Parliament.
The Luxon Government
Luxon will be sworn in as Prime Minister by the NZ Governor-General.
Luxon said he will begin work on many of his party’s pre-election policies immediately, with draft laws set to be tabled in Parliament by January.
Leader of the ACT Party, David Seymour, is expected to be named Deputy PM, but it’s not yet clear how senior roles will be divided
What has Albanese said?
Australian PM Anthony Albanese called Luxon on Sunday to congratulate him on his victory.
Albanese and Luxon committed to extending Australia-New Zealand ties, which Luxon described as “one of friendship and a dose of healthy competition”.
Albanese also offered his commiserations to Hipkins, who conceded defeat on Saturday.