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PoliticsNew Zealand

Conservative Christopher Luxon wins New Zealand election

October 14, 2023

Ex-businessman Christopher Luxon will be the next prime minister after Kiwis shifted support to the center-right after six years of liberal government led mostly by Jacinda Ardern.

Christopher Luxon, leader of the National Party speaks to supporters at an election rally
Christopher Luxon is a former executive of Unilever and ex-CEO of Air New ZealandImage: Shane Wenzlick/AAP/dpa/picture alliance

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins on Saturday conceded his Labour Party had lost the
general election and was not in a position to form a government, handing victory to his conservative opponent Christopher Luxon.

With more than two-thirds of the vote counted, Luxon's National Party had about 40% of the vote, versus a little over 25% of the vote for Hipkins' Labour Party. 

The shift to the center-right follows six years of a left-leaning government headed for most of that time by Jacinda Ardern.

Luxon's National Party still short of majority

The National Party is still unlikely to get a majority in Parliament and under the country's proportional voting system, Luxon will likely need to form an alliance with other parties to command a majority.

In this year's election, a party or coalition needs 61 of Parliament's 120 seats to form a government. A by-election in November will add an extra seat.

Luxon will likely need support from the libertarian ACT Party and likely also from the New Zealand First Party.

The nationalist New Zealand First Party, led by Winston Peters, was poised to serve as a kingmaker. New Zealand First has sometimes clashed with ACT. 

Ardern's strict COVID policies were her undoing

Incumbent Chris Hipkins, who took over as the Labour Party's leader after Ardern's resignation, has conceded defeat. 

Ardern unexpectedly stepped down in January, saying she no longer had "enough in the tank" to do the job justice.

She won the last election in a landslide, but her popularity waned as people got tired of COVID-19 restrictions and inflation threatened the economy.

During this vote, support for her Labour Party almost halved.

Over 1.3 million of the 3.8 million eligible voters had taken advantage of early voting.

mm, dvv/wd (AP, dpa, Reuters)