New Zealand PM-elect Luxon, National leaders planning coalition government talks

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Senior members of New Zealand’s center-right National Party will meet on Sunday afternoon to plan forming a coalition government after National and the ACT Party won a slim majority in Saturday’s general election that could be eroded when official votes are in.

Prime Minister-elect Christopher Luxon, 53, a former airline exec-utive who has only been in parliament for three years, said National’s strategy team would gather this afternoon to map out how the party wants to approach negotiations but that he was clear that these talks would happen behind closed doors.

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“We are going to deliver a strong and stable government that is going to get things done,” Luxon told media in Auckland.

He added he had spoken with ACT leader David Seymour twice on Saturday and believed the two parties would work in a
very constructive way.

The conservative National Party won 50 seats and the ACT Party won 11, securing a majority of just one seat in the 121-seat parliament, according to provisional results from the Electoral Commission.

While the two parties currently have the numbers to form a gov-ernment, roughly 567,0000 of special votes or around 20 percent of the vote still have to be counted. The official result is due on November 3 and historically right-wing parties have lost at least a seat with the final count.

"It’s (the result) going to bounce around," Luxon said. “I think ... we need to let that sort of come through.” National’s campaign manager Chris Bishop earlier warned it might lose at least one seat when the special votes are counted.

If National and ACT do lose a seat they would not have enough seats to form a government and would need to reach an agree-ment with the populist party New Zealand First. Luxon has not yet spoken to leader Winston Peters but has said he is prepared to work with them to form a stable government.

Under New Zealand’s mixed member proportional system, it is very uncommon for a single party to form a government, although Jacinda Ardern’s Labour government did in 2020.

Peters told media he was waiting to speak with Luxon until the result of the election was clear and that would not be known until November 3.

National can create a government by either forming coalition agreements, where parties agree to be in government together, or where the smaller party agrees to support the government in important matters such as a no-confidence vote or when passing the budget.

Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister of New Zealand’s closest neighbor Australia, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, his congratulations to Luxon on the win and said he looked forward to building the two countries’ relationship into the future.

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