Who will choose Winston Peters? After the parliamentary elections on Saturday, September 23, the leader of New Zealand first (NZF), populist party and anti-immigration, has recovered its title of “maker of king” . For the third time in twenty-one years, the elected Maori is in a position to appoint the next chief executive of New Zealand.
Neither the Conservatives of outgoing Prime Minister Bill English nor the Labor Party led by Jacinda Ardern got 61 seats, the absolute majority in the unicameral Parliament. By partnering with one of the two courses, Winston Peters, head of a group of nine members, can do tip the balance one way or the other. On election night, the 72-year-old man did not close any doors. He intends to play the competition to get the maximum gains for him and his party.
“We will make a decision based on the interests of all New Zealand and NZF. (…) It will take time, “ he said. In 1996, he had bargained for almost two months before accepting the best offer – that of the Center- right National Party that had agreed to appoint him Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Treasury. In 2005, it was by offering him the prestigious portfolio of foreign affairs that the Labor Party, Helen Clark, reached an agreement.
“New Zealanders want another coalition”
At the opening of these new talks, Bill English’s National Party, which came out on top with 58 MPs, is in a strong position. “Nearly half of New Zealanders voted national,” said the Conservative leader. Following a hard-fought campaign, this practicing Catholic, a former farmer, austere finance minister for eight years, before being appointed prime minister in December 2016, managed to convince46% of voters to vote for continuity.
After three Conservative mandates, not only has New Zealand emerged from the recession, but it has an enviable fiscal surplus and is posting steady growth. Nevertheless, the country is in the throes of an unprecedented real estate crisis and inequalities remain strong. If the National Party was not sanctioned by the voters, it is not the same for the formations that accompanied it in power for nine years. The Maori Party, in particular, loses its two deputies. “The New Zealanders want another coalition,” said Bill English, who intends to open in the coming days, ” positive discussions “ with NZF.
These discussions are especially muscular. In the opposition for nearly a decade, Winston Peters has been constantly criticizing the Conservatives. His training , which advocates “law and order” , very popular with seniors, criticizes in particular the “Wellington bureaucrats” to neglect the deep country. It also calls for a drastic reduction in the number of immigrants admitted each year to New Zealand – from more than 70,000 currently to 10,000.