New Zealand’s ruling Nationals win most votes

WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s ruling National Party won the largest number of votes in the country’s general election on Saturday, securing a comfortable margin over the Labour Party after what had promised to be the most hotly contested race in recent history.
National and Labour had been almost neck and neck in opinion polls, with charismatic 37-year old Jacinda Ardern almost single-handedly dragging Labour back into the race after taking over the party’s leadership in August.
National took 46 per cent of the vote, the Electoral Commission said, while support for Labour was 35.8 per cent. A final tally including overseas votes will be released on October 7.
The results set up the nationalist New Zealand First Party to hold the balance of power and form the next government with 7.5 per cent of the ballot.
Veteran New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has been minister under both major parties and has not said which party he would favour as a coalition partner. Previously he has backed the party with the largest number of votes. — Reuters