led coalition building
NZ General Election
Haas, Asia Pacific Economic News Bureau, Parliamentary Press Gallery,
Labour leader Helen
Clark immediately started working to form
a government following the cliff hanging result
of the 17 September New Zealand general election.
She succeeded, and
advised the Governor-General on 17 October 2005 she could form her third
Government, then announced Labour Party agreements with four parties,
and, on 19 October, her Cabinet.
National Party leader
Don Brash did not immediately concede defeat just because Labour had 50
seats to National's provisional 49 seats on election night - and said
he would work to form a government. when the special votes came in, he
conceded - his seats down one to 48.
could not rule Brash out because of the influence minority parties could
have had in the negotiations that proceeded throughout September. Additionally,
special votes, recounts, electoral challenges and the committment to positions
struck during the campaign could have affected the political equation.
and supply negotiations
During the week after the election the Labour and National leaders talked
with leaders of minor parties, laying the ground for negotiations that
could lead to coalitions, understandings on supporting votes of "confidence",
votes for "supply" and other factors that affect the ability
to form and keep a government stable.
The negotiations looked to slow down until the third week after the election,
when the "special votes" were reported, and some election night
provisional results were overturned. People overseas, students away from
their electorate on election day are typical of those who cast special
votes in advance, and which needed time and checking after election day
to be properly counted. Even then, candidates could (as NZ First leader
and Tauranga candidate Winston Peters did) use the law to challenge results
- and that in turn could have affected the overall result.
Incumbent, caretaker Prime Minister Clark spoke the language of inclusion
in her immediate post-election comments to the nation about her strategy
for imminent talks with party leaders about forming a new government..
a tone struck by the leader of United Future Peter Dunne, was not evident
when he said the price of his support could be the non inclusion of Green
Party representation (particularly co-leaders Rod Donald and Jeanette
FitzSimmons) at the Cabinet table. The result of the month of negotiations
was that Peter Dunne, and the NZ First leader Winston Peters, both became
Ministers - but outside Cabinet. The Green leaders got a range of their
policies accepted, and some limited spokesperson roles for the Labour
Helen Clark emphasised
the need for the negotiations to produce stable government for her third
term in office. To achieve her goal she received committments from NZ
First and United Future to support the Labour-Progressive coalition on
confidence and supply, and Green Party committment to abstain on such
motions that can topple a government.
Dr Brash although
not able to form a government in the face of the determination, skills
and numbers advantage held by Helen Clark, did, however, lead the National
Party back from the cold into a strong position as government in waiting.
The poll rejuvenated his caucus, to include former high performers in
the diplomatic service and others who can offer a strong case to govern.
Lanugage - particularly code language related to race - has been an increasingly
powerful electoral force. as the 17 percent of those polled showed when
they rushed to lend support for Dr Brash's January 2004 "Orewa"
speech. Then, he stressed policies based on race should be replaced by
policies based on need.
National's electoral slogan in this campaign targeted "mainstream
New Zealand", a point the Labour leader picked up in her "inclusion"
and "three year stable government" speech when the poll results
became clear around midnight on 17 September.
Member Proportional electoral system gives mainstream and special
interests each a place in the electoral mix - which prospective Prime
Ministers, sooner, and later, need to accomodate.
parties status in election
The Maori Party won four electorate seats to join the total of
eight parties elected to the 48th NZ Parliament. DecisionMaker compares
their votes and seats gained in the 47th Parliament, which lasted between
2002 and August 2005.
Find out the results
The results of the 17 September 2005 general election for the normally
120 seat NZ Parliament can be authoritatively sourced from www.electionresults.govt.nz/,
and backgrounded from www.elections.org.nz.
DecisionMaker has grouped the results party by party - noting initially
those with list and with electorate seats. Click on the party of interest
to you to see which MPs were confirmed in the final results of the 2005
National, 48 seats
NZ First, seven seats
Greens, six seats
Maori, four seats
United Future, three seats
ACT, two seats
Progressive, one seat
more about MP's personal background
DecisionMaker includes a photo of the face of every MP, grouped
by their party, and provides a link to the personal background provided
by them. The personal background is usually linked to their party website
(Click on the party names above, and then on each of the MP's entry.
There is a fine balance between personal background that is relevant to
the public interest, and personal background that is matter of personal
privacy. Privacy law, assembled in the book Media Law in New Zealand,
updated by Professor John Burrows and Ursula Cheer, Canterbury University,
and published by Oxford University Press in 2005, attracts more attention
The Wellington based Parliamentary Information Service, an information
and referral service for the public, provides answers to questions on
all aspects of the NZ Parliament.
The service is provided
by the Parliamentary Library and is generally limited to 30 minutes per
enquiry, however longer enquiries may be undertaken if appropriate.
Information Service is happy to have enquiries forwarded to them - Decisionmaker
Publications sometimes passes questions to the service. Staff usually
manage to reply on the same or following day.
Parliamentary Library, Parliament Buildings
Ph 04) 471 9647 Fax 04) 471 2551
Office of the Clerk:
http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz (Select Committees & other
Parliamentary business, publications etc...)
watch actual election results more
The variation between opinion polls offered during the 2005 New
Zealand general election raises questions about how to assist people to
out more to help make this poll a case study
post election editions
Decisionmaker Guide to Parliament and Government editions are
being updated following the 2005 general election - with the first changes
being made on this decisionmaker.co.nz website. Asia Pacific Economic
News Parliamentary bureau, assisted by other participants in the citizesnhip
education project, is reviewing the 2003 edition to determine core and
supplementary content for the website and other editions, such as the
cd edition for the first quarter 2006.
Contact us with suggestions
for content - we encourage
education emphasis: youth, migrants, hosts
DecisionMaker Citizenship education is more than a general introduction
for people inside and outside New Zealand about how Parliament works,
how Government works, how the law works and the big picture of the whole
It recognises the need to foster civic literacy, and civic participation
among young people, amongst new settlers and amongst those who interact
Updated 29 October 2005