NZ. THE ARDERN ERA ARCHIVED
(November 4th, 2023)
WELLINGTON. NZ definitively archives the Ardern era: the general elections of October 14th will in fact decree the end of six years of progressive government dominated by the charismatic figure of Jacinda Ardern.
It’ll change everything or almost everything in Wellington, where the probable future prime minister promises to reduce taxes and re-establish law and order, but above all to fight against the inflation which in these two years has decimated the wages and purchasing power of the working class .
In detail, with the counting now completed, including the approximately 600 thousand special votes cast by those who live abroad or outside their own electoral constituency,
the National party, with 38.1% of the votes, won 48 seats.
At his side, to govern ACT New Zealand, a centre-right formation which with 8.6% acquires 11 deputies.
New Zealand First, another centre-right party, led by the immortal Winston Peters, secured 8 seats with 6.1%.
Together NP-ACT-NZF control 67 out of 122 mandates and therefore have a 12 seat advantage over the opposition.
Led until January 2023 by Jacinda Ardern, the Labor Party barely reached 26.9% and elected only 34 deputies: exactly 31 fewer than those it controlled three years ago: among the Labor Party there had been widespread campaign the belief that ground was being recovered, but the results were even worse than the polls had predicted.
«Unfortunately – Chris Hipkins, the man who took over the leadership of the party after Ardern’s resignation, said on election night in front of his supporters – we are not in a position to form the new government: yet we conducted a strong and tenacious, calling every house and meeting everyone, but it wasn’t enough.”
This confirms the law according to which the prime minister who inherits the government in the last year of the legislature ends up losing the elections: the same thing happened in 2017, after the surprising resignation of John Key. His successor Bill English was beaten by Ardern, who became Labor leader shortly before that year’s vote.
Chris Hipkins, chosen in January to replace the charismatic prime minister, who has become a universal star, has not demonstrated the same leadership ability, has often had to reshuffle his cabinet and scandals have emerged which have deepened the gap between public opinion and government.
Now the party will have to rework a strategy to lead the opposition and prepare for the 2026 elections.
Among the smaller forces, the Greens benefited from the Labor crack, obtaining 11.6% and electing 15 parliamentarians.
The ecologist leader said: «only the green wave managed to stop the blue wave» (the color of the Nationals [NDR]).Among the smaller factions entering the chamber is Te Páti Máori which won 6 direct mandates (3.1%), of which one at the expense of the outgoing foreign minister who was beaten by a girl of just 21 years old, the youngest parliamentarian for 170 years.
THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM
After the abandonment of the purely single-member method for the election of the House of Representatives, decided in 1996, a mixed system is in force in NZ: each voter expresses two votes, one for a political party (list vote without preferences) and one for a candidate in a single-member constituency.
Both the lists that win any of the single-member constituencies and those that exceed the 5% threshold on a national scale obtain seats.
72 representatives are elected single-member, of which 7 belong to the Maori community, 48 on the proportional lists.
It may happen that the members of the chamber, which are basically 120, rise to 121 or 122: this happens if a list obtains many seats in both the majority and proportional shares.
THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE
New Zealand is one of the founding members of the Commonwealth: having obtained internal self-government in the 19th century, in 1907 it became a dominion: the head of state is the ruler of Great Britain, now King Charles III Windsor, represented by a governor general, by 2021 Dame Cindy Kiro.
The regime is parliamentary: New Zealanders elect one house which remains in office for approximately three years: early elections can be called if necessary.
After the elections, the governor appoints a prime minister who has the task of forming and presiding over the cabinet. It may happen that during the legislature the prime minister resigns: in this case the party or coalition that has the majority can propose a new one.
New Zealand has a constitutional law enacted in 1986 that regulates the functioning of institutions.
THE TRANSFER OF POWERS
In Wellington, the changing of the guard after the parliamentary elections is not as rapid as in other nations with a Westminster tradition: first of all, the elected representatives must be announced, then the outgoing prime minister goes to the governor to offer his resignation, then the representative of His Majesty appoints the new head of government who has the duty to propose the list of ministers.
In the recent past, it took several weeks to form the new executive, since as a result of the 1996 electoral reform, the main parties, Labor and Nationals, were rarely able to obtain an absolute majority.
Therefore, negotiations have been underway for weeks to define the program and composition of the new ministry: the head of which will be the leader of the Nationals Christopher Luxon, while the leader of ACT NZ, David Seymour will be the deputy.
WHAT WILL CHANGE
“New Zealanders – headlined rnz.co.nz – have voted for change”, and the guardian who followed this vote with particular closeness adds: «a part of Jacinda’s inheritance is safe, another is not».
The measures in the environmental field and the measures in favor of the less well-off classes seem to be safe, such as the discount on heating for the winter and the provisions in favor of young couples who give birth to a child.
Probably, the most significant changes will take place in the area of labor legislation: the Nationals would like to introduce the maximum limit of 90 days for the duration of the probationary period for new hires and individualized employment contracts company by company.
in the housing sector, we’d like to give back to the owner the right to evict the tenant without reason, while the method of calculating pensions for those at the end of their career could be redefined with a saving for the state coffers of NZ 2 billion $.
Even if the new prime minister has anti-abortion positions, it seems unlikely that he will want to change the law approved in recent years, while some concessions could be made to minor allies by making immigration from abroad less easy.
The man who will probably become New Zealand’s 44th prime minister, when was young “sold deodorant and ice cream” says theguardian.com.
Born in 1970 in Christchurch, South Island, married and the father of two adult children, he grew up in Auckland, where he attended state schools. Having obtained a Masters in Commerce from the University of Canterbury, he was then hired by Unilever, a well-known multinational food company. He worked for 18 years in Australia, Great Britain, Canada and the United States, before returning home to lead Air New Zealand.
Having entered parliament in 2020, he applied his managerial experience to straighten out the fortunes of the National Party which, after the searing defeat three years ago, didn’t seem to find a leader who could bring it back to power.
Elected Leader of the Opposition in November 2021, he promised in his victory speech that he would govern for the benefit of all New Zealanders, regardless of ethnic origin.
Now, having received the mandate from the people, he’ll have to demonstrate whether his promises are achievable or not.
PIER LUIGI GIACOMONI