What now for forming a government?

National and NZ First have enough seats between them to form a government if they wanted to – Bill English wants to but NZ First may or may not.

If NZ First want to play one side against the other, or if they prefer to side with NZ First and Greens then serious negotiations will need to be put on hold for two weeks until the final results are announced.

On provisional results Labour+NZ First+Greens only have a 61-59 majority. This would have to be confirmed before they could guarantee a governing arrangement, so needs the final result on 7 October.

A 61-59 majority with three parties is tenuous. It would only take one defection from NZ First, or one by-election loss for Labour (that National gains) to stuff the government.

The final result may give Labour+NZ First+Greens another seat or two which gives them a more solid lead.

If Peters comes out over the next day or two and puts everything on hold until the final result we will have a good indication he is putting wheeling and dealing ahead of a quick and stable transition.

It’s worth looking back at 2005 when Peters took some time to decide to go with Helen Clark and Labour.

Labour got the most votes but it was much closer than this time. party vote in the 2015 election:

  • Labour 41.1%
  • National 39.1%
  • NZ First 5.72%
  • Greens 5.3%
  • United Future 2.67%
  • Maori Party 2.12%
  • ACT 1.51%
  • Progressive (Anderton) 1.16%



  1. George

     /  September 24, 2017

    So the Nats go talk to the Greens and Peters is out in the cold.
    With the numbers as they are he wont risk that

  2. Blazer

     /  September 24, 2017

    if the Greens went with National,they would be committing …hari kari.

  3. Chuck Bird

     /  September 24, 2017

    I see you say there are 120 seats. I have seen the same comment in the MSM. However, I thought there should be 121 as ACT has 1 overhang.

    • Why an over hang Chuck? Whats the calculation?

      • Chuck Bird

         /  September 24, 2017

        Dave, I just noticed ACT got one last time. I see the small percentage increase means it not longer happens.

  4. This is a snippet from something I read in The Gisborne Herald:

    ‘after an election, the governor-general approaches the leader of the highest-polling party and asks if they can form a set of responsible ministers.

    ‘Although this is commonly taken as “Do you have a majority?” the real hidden question is “Do you have the courage to form a government, even if it’s a minority?” If the answer is no, she may then ask the next-highest-polling party.’

    This was apparently taken from the NZ Law Journal and would seem to imply that Bill English can simply say “yes” and take the reins of government, whether anyone joins him or not. It clearly has the potential to be a rocky ride, but there seems no question of Winston and Jacinda automatically taking on government if they join forces.

    It is an interesting read on the issues of minority government, and the “confidence and supply” arrangements that can enable it to operate without a formal coalition. I believe that is what PM May has with DUP in the UK.


  1. What now for forming a government? — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition