Today, the voters of New Zealand go to the polls to decide the makeup for their next parliament. The dominant Green and National parties are likely to hold just half of the seats in parliament, with the Greens having 7 seats and National having 6 on recent polling. In the last days of the campaign, in a bid to perhaps reach 30%, Green campaigning intensified and reached around 10 posts more than the Nationals on the last day. However, again, the polls in the campaign have been largely consistent for the 2 major parties, it is for their likely coalition partners that there has been the most change.
New Zealand First and The Opportunities Party started this campaign polling at 3 seats each, however, with a decline in activity from both parties, this quickly went down in part thanks to a resurgent United Future, whom most political columnists had already written off as a lost cause. In a matter of days, United Future went from 5% to 9%, and what has ensued is a battle. You see, both United Future, TOP and NZ First will get at least 2 seats. But whoever leads among them will snatch an extra seat.
The polls have shown this to be TOP, who would re-elect Wellington MP StringLordInt (who has been nowhere to be seen this campaign)- this time via the list. But United Future has been fighting hard for the third spot, too, which would elect BloodyChrome, their candidate for Southern, currently on around 20% in his electorate and very unlikely to win it. If New Zealand First wins this, which is within the realm of possibility, they would elect their candidate for Southern, Dicky_Knee.
However, the analysis of the 2 centrist parties, 2 major parties and New Zealand First, leaves two other parties out, likely to be governing partners with the major parties. Labour has suffered this campaign. It had a target of 18% and to re-elect all 5 MPs, but now they seem lucky to only lose 1 sitting MP. Why? This campaign has seen a rather lacklustre campaign from Labour’s leadership, with hk-laichar and Youmaton doing little work, leaving KatieIsSomethingSad and the rest of Labour’s candidates to pick up the brunt. Labour’s party vote polling means that they are likely to only win 4 seats, which could in theory accomodate their sitting MPs, with WillShakespeare99, MP for Northland, is retiring, but with Labour likely to win Northland again with former MP dyljam, this means that one of their MPs is on the chopping block.
Meanwhile, this leaves one missing link. The ACT Party. Revived early in the term, it found itself led by former Labour leader and former list MP, FelineNibbler, and almost immediately, due to the abolition of the 4% threshold, was shown as likely to win at least 1 seat. However, it’s unlikely they will get past that, as they’ve only been polling around 4%- good for a new party, but off the 6-8% needed for 2 seats.
So, after today, who will be in the Beehive? It may well be in the hands of the two centrist parties. Will the National Party be returned with support from TOP, United Future, ACT, and maybe New Zealand First? Or, more likely, will the incumbent governing coalition recieve an increased mandate? We’ll have to wait and see.