New Zealand turns right and ends six years of Labor

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The centre-right National party, led by the former chief executive of Air New Zealand, Christopher Luxonwill take the reins of New Zealand with his preferred coalition party, ACT, after the Labor leader and current president, Chris Hipkinsrecognized that it could not form a government after a general election that revolved around the cost of living crisis that the country is going through.

The current Conservative opposition won 38.95% of the vote and ACT 8.98%, while the ruling Labor Party won 26.9%, ending six years in power. The right-wing coalition has consolidated his position to lead the next Executive by obtaining a total of 61 seats (50 for National, 11 for ACT), compared to 52 (34 for Labour) on the left. A total of 61 seats are needed to form a government.

After the results were known, Hipkins, who became Labor leader in January after the surprise resignation of Jacinda Ardern, spoke from Wellington to acknowledge his party’s defeat. “The way things are, Labor is not in a position to form another government“, he declared. After adding that he had already called Luxon to congratulate him, he concluded that “the result is not what any of us wanted.”

The election results have shown a dramatic shift to the right in what analysts have described as a “bloodbath” for the Government. “The main issue these elections dealt with was the economy and the increase in the cost of living caused by inflation,” Karl Lofgren, professor and director of the School of Government at the Victoria University of Wellington, explains to EL MUNDO.

Inflation under the Labor Government reached 7.3% in March 2022, the highest level in the last 32 years, and currently remains at 6%. The biggest driver has been food prices, which rose 12.3% in the twelve months to June 2023according to figures published by Stats NZ.

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