New Zealand election: Nationalist party kingmaker after final vote count released

Some of NZ First leader Winston Peters policy ideas appear designed to exploit the nostalgic yearning of his ageing

New Zealand election: Nationalist party kingmaker after final vote count released

The New Zealand First party will meet with the ruling National Party, led by Prime Minister Bill English, at midday and then in the afternoon with the Labour Party, led by Jacinda Ardern who nearly single-handedly boosted her party's chances after assuming the party's leadership in August.

It means two National MPs have lost seats in the final count.

The leaders of the National, Labour and Green parties are all due to make statements before 3.30pm this afternoon, but no word has emerged yet from the camp of the so-called "king" or "queen-maker" Winston Peters, leader of the New Zealand First party, whose election night tally remains at nine seats and gives him the balance of power.

Peters has said he will make a final decision by October 12.

Analysts expected the New Zealand dollar to show little reaction to the final results, given that the "special votes" had been widely expected to favour the left-leaning parties based on previous elections.

National Party Leader Bill English says today's result confirmed the National Party is in a strong position as the largest party.

"This reinforces the mandate for negotiations to form a stable, durable and progressive Labour-led government, a government I would be proud to lead". The Green Party, at 6.3percent, lost nearly five percentage points on its 2014 tally following a disastrous start to its campaign when co-leader Metiria Turei resigned over self-confessed benefit and electoral system rorts.

"I don't think it weakens it significantly at all; the fundamentals haven't altered", Mr English told reporters in Queenstown in response to a question on his party's negotiation position.

James Shaw, the co-leader of the Greens which has eight seats, has repeatedly said his party would support Labour, and suspicions the Greens could switch their allegiance to National was nothing more than "noise".

In the 120-seat parliament, 61 seats are needed for a ruling majority.

Ardern, meanwhile, highlighted that most electors had voted for change.

He has opened preliminary coalition talks with both parties in recent days and given himself a deadline of next Thursday to make a decision.

Over the past nine years of National government, Peters has repeatedly opined on his many "bottom lines" if he were to form a coalition government.

Ardern said Labour would negotiate with the Greens and NZ First separately and not have all three around the table together. He wants to drastically reduce immigration and stop foreigners from buying farms.

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