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New Zealand PM English makes strong start in early election count

New Zealand PM English makes strong start in early election count”

In last few hours, nearly all votes have been counted and trends show that the National party was leading with 46 per cent, while support for Labour was 35.8 per cent, the Election Commission said in a statement.

With 90 per cent of the votes counted, National looks to have secured 58 seats in the next parliament but even with their sole surviving current coalition partner it's still not enough to get them over the line.

Leader of NZF Winston Peters gave no indication which of the two blocs his New Zealand First - and its nine seats from 7.5 per cent of the vote - would support.

New Zealanders were voting Saturday in a national election that appears to be a close race between conservative Prime Minister Bill English and liberal challenger Jacinda Ardern.

Labour's Jacinda Ardern was vying to defeat Prime Minister Bill English in Saturday's NZ election.

Soon after television commentators predicted that James Shaw's speech should be a concession of sorts, and that he should agree to do whatever it took for Labour and New Zealand First to form a Government, James Shaw appeared and did the opposite.

The National Party is unable to govern alone despite establishing a clear lead over Labour in the 2017 Election.

The results were welcomed by the National Party, which is seeking a fourth consecutive term in office.

"There's still a lot in play at the moment", she said.

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Speaking to the National Party's supporters at Sky City in Auckland, he welcomed the expression of confidence from voters, and said he would talk to Mr Peters soon, but they did not need to rush the process.

Ardern had enjoyed a remarkable surge in popularity since taking over as opposition leader last month. Labor is likely to tie up with the Green Party, which now holds seven seats.

"I've called Bill and acknowledged that", Ardern told her supporters, adding she was planning conversations with both the Green and New Zealand First parties.

"I haven't done as well for [our voters] as I would have liked", she told the crowd, who protested back loudly. "In the next few days we will begin discussions with New Zealand First on finding common ground and form. a strong and stable government for all New Zealanders".

English's campaigning went better than many expected, including himself.

More than 986,000 ballots have already been cast, accounting for nearly a third of the 3.2 million New Zealanders on the electoral rolls.

Thousands of special votes are also yet to be counted.

With the campaign over, who will be the next prime minister of New Zealand could come down to the quirks of the MMP [mixed member proportional voting] electoral system.

Peters, a political veteran whose fiery rhetoric has seen him compared to US President Donald Trump, knows how to extract the most from coalition negotiations.

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