N.Z.’s National Party Gets 47% Share of Votes in Final Count

New Zealand’s National party will form a government with a 47 percent share of the public vote after a final count that gave it 59 seats in the next parliament.

National captured the biggest vote after counting of the so-called special votes, which are ballots cast by people out of their home constituencies on Nov. 26, the Electoral Commission said in a statement today. That would be National’s best performance since 1990. The party’s share in a preliminary count was 48 percent.

Prime Minister John Key reached agreements with single-seat parties ACT and United Future last week to ensure he has control of the 121-seat parliament. The two allies will back his policies on asset sales and welfare reform as well as voting in favor of the budget. Key is also in talks to win support from the Maori party that has three seats.

The main opposition Labour party will have 34 seats after counting of special votes, unchanged from the result announced on election night, the commission said. The Green party’s share of the vote rose to 11.06 percent, giving it 14 seats, up from 13 on election night.

Under the nation’s mixed-member proportional voting system, New Zealanders cast two ballots, one for a party and the other for a candidate in their constituency. There are 63 general constituencies and seven special constituencies reserved for native Maori voters.

Non-binding Referendum

Parties need to garner 5 percent of the vote or win a constituency to get into parliament.

In a non-binding referendum alongside the ballot, voters were asked to retain or change the voting system. About 57.77 percent said they want to keep the so-called MMP system, the commission said today.

In the Christchurch Central constituency, National candidate Nicky Wagner was declared winner with a majority of 45. In the Auckland electorate of Waitakere, Labour was awarded the seat after National held a 349-vote lead on election night.

Both seats are likely to face a judicial recount before final confirmation, the New Zealand Herald newspaper reported this week. The award of the constituent seats doesn’t affect either party’s majority in parliament, which is determined only by the party vote.