Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Tuesday, 20 September 2005 12:27 UK

New Zealand election: Your views

Leader of the Labour Party, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark
How will Labour's narrow victory affect New Zealand?

New Zealand's ruling party has won enough votes for 50 seats in parliament to the opposition National Party's 49, but will need the support of minor parties to form a government.

There was a high turnout of the 2.83m registered voters for the election in which Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark won a third term in office.

The prime minister faced a strong challenge from the National Party's Don Brash who has shaken up the establishment by vowing to discard some privileges for the country's native Maori.

What result were you hoping for? What priorities would you like to see in Clark's third term?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of views received:

The result merely reflects the worldwide trend to re-elect incumbents. In fact I was surprised that the Labour Party did so poorly, considering New Zealand's booming economy. The Nationals obviously have policies which appeal to a significant segment of the community, and Helen Clark would be well advised to adopt some of them if she wants to govern fairly. The electorate has moved more toward the centre, and the PM should be wary of making too many concessions to the Greens and the left of her own party.
Michael, Takarazuka, Japan

We faced a choice between moving forward to the future or moving forward to the past. National is a 19th century party bereft of ideas and talent. It is divisive dismissive of women and subservient to the US. I watched Brash in debate with Helen last week and heard his definition of a so called "Mainstream New Zealander" I am proud I am non-mainstream and I am grateful that Helen will be able to take us forward again
Rick Townsend Auckland New Zealand

A change would have seen our country move forward as one people
Tara Bowden, Auckland, NZ
For Labour to hold such a slender lead has to be a wake up call for Helen Clark's government. I think a change would have seen our country move forward as one people and not the separatist society that we have become. Helen will have to go the Greens again for seats, United Future won't go near her and I think she burnt her bridges with the Maori party and NZ First. It's a shame for NZ that she is still there - it's another three years of arrogant overbearing political correctness.
Tara Bowden, Auckland, NZ

Unfortunately Labour's win means the burden of paying for all the election promises that Labour deemed unaffordable only 3 months ago will fall heavily on the shoulders of those people who already pay disproportionate amounts of tax, the single, educated, employed salary earner.
Mark, Auckland

It looks as though Labour made it. This is the scariest election since the 1990s. I'm hoping that Helen can form a coalition with Greens, Maori and Progressives leaving Don Brash out in the cold. His views on the civil union bill and his distaste of the Greens make him undesirable as a stable coalition partner. For myself, strategic voting meant that I didn't vote for the party that I would most like to lead the Govt. (Progressives). I'm hoping that the smaller parties don't get disheartened about their smaller size. Hang in there, we want you to influence the shape of things to come.
Phoebe, Wellington, New Zealand

The people have spoken, but I'm absolutely sure the politicians will never hear the words: "Grand Coalition". The people want an open, yet caring, social environment, and an end to the vituperative and venomous bickering over trivia in Parliament.
Christopher Sawtell, Christchurch, NZ

As an overseas Kiwi I breathed a sigh of relief that Labour has won. National wants among other things, fee trade with the USA, but one has only to look at Canada's so-called 'free trade' agreement with the USA to see what a trade bully the US is. Free trade and globalization has done little for the ordinary working people of this Planet. And Labour does at least have a sense of social conscience which is not a mark of right-wing governments anywhere, especially that of the US.
Andrew Wallace, Calgary, Canada.

As a current Labour supporter, I'll like to take my hat off to Mr Brash for even as an inexperienced contender, he has taken the National Party to become a powerful balancing force in government. I think it'll be interesting when Mr Brash gains a bit more experience in terms of polishing his "race" policies and his dealings with the media. By the next elections, he'll likely turn out to be much more successful than the last one.
Fabian Low, Auckland, New Zealand

AS an ex-pat living in London, I will look forward to going back to New Zealand under intelligent and compassionate leadership. Don Brash stood for division, his immature view on race relations belong in the garbage.
David Farquhar, London, UK

The country has another chance to follow on its current path rather than slipping into an agenda of self interest
James, Christchurch, New Zealand
It amuses me to read comments from New Zealanders living overseas about how pleased they are that Helen Clark and Labour will form the next government. No doubt many of them will pack their bags and return immediately. The fact is that talented New Zealanders are leaving the country in droves and it is those people the nation most needs to stay. Why remain when talent, hard work and enterprise are penalise whilst mediocrity and welfarism rewarded?
John Samiotis, London, England

As an ex-pat Kiwi living in the US, I hope that Helen Clark can form a solid coalition government, the last thing NZ needs is a move back towards the USA. The US is in it's slow decline and NZ doesn't need free trade with it. With the huge farming subsidies that still exist in the US, I question what benefit such a deal would have. Politically too, aligning with the US would have the effect of making NZ just another easy target for terrorists.
Darin Hilton, Los Angeles, USA

I am just glad that it looks like the racist, ultra-right wing agenda of the National Party won't win the day. It sickens me that New Zealand politics and over 40% of its people support the fascist agenda of denying native people fair representation in the democratic process, tax cuts for the corporate fat cats, and getting into bed with the great Satan: George Bush. It would be a modern day holocaust for Maori if National won. I just hope that Labour can continue to rule, to ensure the country remains a fair and free place to live, and that something can be done long-term to stop these radical right-wing elements from seizing power in New Zealand.
Andrew, Auckland

This election is far from over. Special votes yet to be counted represent 9% of the total vote. Labour could lose another electorate seat (Osaka)and the greens could fall below the threshold. I find it interesting to see the way people are portraying the plans to abolish the Maori seats. Not only is voting in these seats based on race but the constituencies are half the size of general electorate seats. This is inherently undemocratic to any objective observer. 50% of Maori chose to vote on the general role and under the MMP system Maori are well represented. To portray this as an example of disenfranchisement is inaccurate
Stuart, Auckland

Labour needs to form a coalition with United Future, Progressive Party, and New Zealand First on confidence and supply. This will block the ten seats from Greens - Maori who could destabilise the government. Tax cuts are not needed to be given- by in large to the rich, in the process worsening New Zealand's youth 8 billion dollar debt, and the last thing we need to do before the economy declines is to empty the governments coffers into the rich and overseas owned businesses.
Regan Leslie, Dunedin, New Zealand

Thank God the Labour party has another chance to form a Government. The country has another chance to follow on its current path rather than slipping into an agenda of self interest and sly winking usury as promised by the resurgent right. It is also a relief that New Zealand avoided the international debt that National promised with the spectre of peak oil on the horizon. I would like Labour simply to keep their hand on the tiller and continue their policies that have made New Zealand great once again.
James, Christchurch, New Zealand

At just over 72% of eligible voters using their franchise, this is the lowest turnout for an election in New Zealand's history. I work for a union that organises workers on minimum wages here, and I'd say many young people felt lack lustre about both big parties. One was neo liberal and the other "social liberal". Minor parties like the Greens and the breakthrough Maori Party have promised to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour. However, little will really change for the working poor.
Joe Carolan, Auckland, Aotearoa

Very close result with a definite swing back to the right, but thankfully Labour should be able to form a coalition government. It restores my faith in Western humanity that a political party that espouses social equality, insists on retaining NZ's nuclear-free policy and wants to look after the weakest members of its society is able to be re-elected during the reign of the American Empire. It takes a woman to do it too! Good job NZ, you provide hope for the rest of us.
Mike Thomson, Sydney, Australia

Tax cuts are sorely needed to stem the flow of talented, skilled and university educated people leaving our shores
Matt Lee, Auckland, New Zealand
I hope that Don Brash is able to form a successful coalition for the centre right. Across the board tax cuts are sorely needed to stem the flow of talented, skilled and university educated people leaving our shores. 600 Kiwis each week leave for Australia. It's time to reward hard work and the multi-billion surpluses are an example of the country being over taxed.
Matt Lee, Auckland, New Zealand

What a photo finish of an election, and we won't know the final count until October 1st! Helen Clark is an inclusive, consultative and astute political manager, who knows New Zealand history and who has a positive vision. She should be able to bring together the diverse minor parties into a coalition government. What a relief Brash and the National party didn't (yet) get his mandate to abolish the Maori seats, and drag us back to the 80s and allowing nuclear warships back into our harbours.
Stephanie, Auckland, New Zealand

The election exposed the fault lines that exist in NZ, between town and country, class and race. But wisely, I think, voters have sent a message to all of the nation's political leaders - put differences aside and find common ground to work together, for the betterment of all. It's no mistake there are now eight parties in Parliament. A sure sign that the promise of Mixed Member Proportional election systems are producing shared power results.
Noah Allen, Auckland, New Zealand

Helen Clark represents a beacon of consistent centre-left principle and practice amongst the western democracies. While New Zealand may be a country small in size, it serves as a towering example of reasonableness and decency. As an expatriate Kiwi living in Australia for over 17 years I am proud of Clark and her policies - but deeply ashamed of the Australian government.
Dianne Davis, Sydney, Australia

I hope that Labour can form a government with the seats available. It is frightening to think how close we are to a National government, and the parallels there are with the election at which Bush was elected in the US, after it seemed he was a loser and won on the recount. I trust that in New Zealand money is not yet able to swing the vote counting in an election.
Hilary Rowley, Otago, New Zealand

In 1993 the majority of electors in NZ voted for an MMP style of parliament. Those who oppose MMP constantly wring their hands at the party which wins the most seats in the election having to go into coalition with another party or parties, but that is precisely why MMP was voted for in the first place! It means that there is compromise, dialogue, and consensus between the various parties, and Helen Clarke has shown that she can lead a minority coalition successfully. It's time the critics got over it and accepted the will of the majority.
Carl Cooke, Auckland, New Zealand

I think that the Maori party holds the power. Labour needs them to form a majority government but if they decided to go with National then they could also form a government with United Future NZ first and Act. I doubt they would enter into a coalition with National. Also has everybody forgotten what National did back when they were the government? Cut benefits, employment contracts act brought in, market rentals on state houses etc the list goes on. National will be in USA's pocket. Under National the gaps between rich and poor would get bigger. I hope Helen Clark does well in her third term.
Maria Watson, Nelson New Zealand

New Zealand's voting system has proved a farce once again
Rob N, Nelson, New Zealand
New Zealand's voting system has proved a farce once again. The power given to the separatist Maori party, with just four seats out of about 90 odd seats makes a mockery of the system. The minority parties get too much power and MPs that lose their electorate seat can get straight back as list MPs (a favourites list drawn up by the each party). In the end, New Zealand lost.
Rob N, Nelson, New Zealand

If Labour are re-elected, one can only hope they ease up on their time-warp like policies of trying keep New Zealand economically and politically isolated in the modern world. Openly favouring certain people based on their skin colour (Maori), is creating the opposite of a cohesive and united country. No wonder so many New Zealanders now live and work in Australia, and they are welcome to keep on coming.
Alex Drew, Adelaide, Australia

The debacle of 2002 swept away a number of incompetents and allowed National to put together a team that the electorate perceives as capable once again of filling the treasury benches. However, the suspicion is that they are sympathetic to the Christian right and all that stands for. This had a twofold effect. The overtly Christian parties lost their support in favour of National, but at the same time other voters were put off voting for National. There is no way National would be able to govern successfully this time. Labour will form a minority government again as it did in 1999. If National can tone down its moralistic stance on social issues it could well win in 2008 despite losing the religious vote that boosted it this time. Labour will no doubt respond by scrapping the more liberal items on its agenda. NZ will be a better place in the years to come because of the resurgence of a strong opposition.
Bill Evans, Christchurch, New Zealand

I am an Asian living in New Zealand, and even though I cannot vote yet, I support Helen Clark, I don't want New Zealand to follow United States into self destruction. I also hope my Maori brothers and sisters can prosper greatly under Helen Clark's government. New Zealand must never forget its Maori past and heritage and identity.
Steve, Christchurch, New Zealand

I think that Labour represents New Zealand best. I particularly admire their independent stance on many issues including nuclear warships and Iraq. This independence really contrasts with the compliant attitude of Australia and shows how a small country can be truly independent and have a good economy.
Mike Brown, Hong Kong

I think Labour has goods to offer to every segment of society. Helen is a far better leader than Brash and I hope she will do well in her third term
Amitpal Singh, Auckland, New Zealand

Whatever the resulting coalitions may be, they will certainly be very tenuous
Jacob Creech, Wellington
I really do think it is still too close to call. Whatever the resulting coalitions may be, they will certainly be very tenuous. For a government from either Labour or National, a lot of support from the smaller parties will be required. I don't think your comments so far reflect the balance at all since all seem to be in favour of Labour despite the fact they have only the slimmest of margins over National. Only time will truly tell.
Jacob Creech, Wellington

With the final result being so close, I think the votes of the large Expat community has a big chance to influence the final result. It will be interesting to see if Expats living in the UK and Aus will give more importance to economic prosperity which attracted them out of the country, or to the green and egalitarian ideals that New Zealanders have traditionally held.
Richard, London UK

Not my business not being a Kiwi, but time to kick the politically correct socialists out - for the good of NZ - and the "Western Alliance"
J. Hadwen, Salzburg, Austria

Rural NZ can realise it will now be forgotten about. The powerhouse of the economy will be neglected by a party desperate to return to power.
Alistar, Singapore

Christians are usually deceived by the centre right to think that the centre right stands for morality
Micky, Auckland, New Zealand
Christians are usually deceived by the centre right to think that the centre right stands for morality. There is nothing moral about the Social Darwinism of the National Party. As a Christian, I voted for the Party that stands for fairness and principles and I voted for Helen Clark. It baffles me why most Christians want to support the right wing to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.
Micky, Auckland, New Zealand

George Bernard Shaw raised a lot of New Zealand hackles in the 1930's by proclaiming that New Zealand was a socialist paradise. It still is by the slenderest of margins. The New Zealand system of MMP was based on the German system and isn't precise enough for decisive administration in New Zealand. The threshold at which political parties obtain list representation in parliament is 5% but unfortunately this clutters up the legislative process with coalitions of dubious worth. A list representation restriction of 10% would weed out the quaint and curious from parliament, and simultaneously reduce the present rather absurd number of parliamentarians to a more practical number.
Ron Naylor, Christchurch, New Zealand

Congratulations Kiwis for getting Helen Clark over the line. Having spent some time living in your beautiful country I know the independence you enjoy is something to treasure. Helen Clark's comment that New Zealand would only send troops to Iraq if requested by the U.N. was yet another example of New Zealand's strength and maturity. Well done.
Ann, Australia

I have voted for Labour which I believe serves the best interest for New Zealanders
Mohammad Yusuf, Auckland
New Zealand's election went very smoothly and successfully. I have voted for Labour which I believe serves the best interest for New Zealanders. But at the end, regardless of who wins, New Zealand has a very good leaders to look up to. And I hope the entire population will support the government.
Mohammad Yusuf, Auckland

Looks like the Brash man isn't going to get there. (phew!) I think it was the stench of being too friendly with the USA that did the damage. Hopefully Helen Clark will finally pull her finger out and scrap the stupid cannabis prohibition laws now that it looks like she will keep her job.
Gary Chiles, Wellington, New Zealand

Well, its 11:30pm and Labour and National are equal in the polls. To form a government is going mean talking to the small parties, Labour has been pursing allies, National never did. I believe New Zealand is going to have a Labour/Green/Maori/United future government, With New Zealand first giving a support vote to Labour. I for one thank goodness Brash lost - his policies were confused and included much mystery. With Brash we would have all be done by lunch. Well done Helen. Keep them clean you Greens!
Mark, Greymouth New Zealand

I'm hoping that Labour stay in power. Their social policies sit better with me than National's policies of tax reduction and of allowing nuclear warships back into NZ territorial waters.
Adrian Lane, Waikanae, New Zealand

New Zealanders vote in close poll
17 Sep 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Helen Clark
15 Sep 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Don Brash
16 Sep 05 |  Asia-Pacific

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