Kiwi ‘kingmaker’ extends limbo
New Zealanders’ wait for a general election winner is set to enter a third week, as populist “kingmaker” Winston Peters yesterday again delayed saying which party he would back.
New Zealand has been in political limbo since the September 23 poll failed to deliver a majority for either National party Prime Minister Bill English or Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.
Each requires Mr Peters’ support to pass the 61 seats needed to form a government, but the 72year-old has drawn out negotia- tions as he seeks maximum advantage for his New Zealand First party.
Mr Peters initially had said he would announce his decision yesterday, but pushed back that deadline earlier this week.
He then quashed hopes the issue would be settled today, saying that was too early to convene the NZF board to discuss a potential deal with Mr English or Ms Ardern.
“It depends upon the logistical availability of the board, which could be Saturday, Sunday or Monday,” he said in Wellington.
“It is a priority (but) people do have to come from all over the country.”
Mr Peters would not say what his recommendation to the NZF board would be.
It is the third time Mr Peters has found himself in the role of kingmaker under New Zealand’s proportional voting system.
He opted for National in 1996 in return for being made deputy prime minister.
In 2005, he backed Labour after it agreed to make him foreign minister.