A change to Labour in NZ
With postal and absentee votes yet to be counted, the New Zealand Labour Party will form a coalition government in partnership with the Alliance Party which is politically to the left of New Zealand Labour. Of great interest is the fact that over 30 per cent of voters voted away from the two major parties. The Labour Party took 39 per cent and the National Party only 30.7 per cent. The Alliance Party (7.8), Greens (4.9), NZ First (4.3), ACT Party (7), United Party (0.5) and others (5.9). This echoes the voting trend in Australia and indicates that many voters are dissatisfied with the major parties and are looking for alternatives. Some of the smaller parties in NZ are progressive while others are conservative. New Zealand's voting system combines single member electorates and multi- member electorates with proportional representation. It is still possible that the Greens will get across the 5 per cent threshold with postal votes, in which case they will take 3 or 4 seats. It is also possible that they will win the single member electorate of Coromandel where the Green's candidate, Jeanette Fitzsimons, is only a handful of votes away from defeating her National Party opponent. If she wins this seat she will become the first Green candidate in the world to have won a seat in a single member electorate. This will also mean that another 3 or 4 Green candidates will take their seats in the 120 member parliament as the 5 per cent threshold does not operate if a party wins even one seat in a single member electorate. New Zealand's new Prime Minister, Helen Clark, comes from the Labour Party left and is expected to wind back anti-union industrial legislation, restoring collective bargaining, increase tax on high income earners, and may renationalise the accident insurance industry which was privatised by the previous National Party government.