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National Primed For 4th Term

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Ringside on Politics – National remains the biggest party despite losing two seats after the special votes results were released on Saturday. Labour and the Greens closed the gap, each gaining one seat, and making a Labour-Greens-NZ First Govt much more viable. NZ First’s total of nine seats was unchanged, meaning whichever bloc it decides to support will be the next Govt. Intense negotiations are underway to reach a deal by Oct 12, when Winston Peters has said he will make his decision known.

Jacinda Ardern appeared to have enormous popularity during the campaign, reflected in huge rises for Labour in the polls and in a phenomenon dubbed the “Jacinda effect.” There were doubts Bill English could match his youthful, optimistic opponent. He also faced the difficult task of trying to return National for a fourth term. But he outperformed Ardern, his 44.4% finishing 7.5% ahead. However, in the final count, the Greens and Labour were only just behind, sharing 43.2% of the votes.

Most Minor Parties Shut Out - The battle between the National and Labour leaders led voters to shun the minor parties and only five parties remain in Parliament. Only one of National’s support partners for the last three terms remains. Peter Dunne’s resignation spelled the end of United Future. The Maori Party is out, with Labour now holding all seven Maori seats. ACT returned, but only thanks to its special deal in Epsom, where National voters are encouraged to give their electorate vote to David Seymour and their party vote to National. ACT won only 0.5% of the party vote.

The Greens are unlikely to form a coalition with National, although adding their 6.3% could allow National to form a Govt.

Return of the PM Maker - Winston Peters’ NZ First garnered 7.2% and it can form or give confidence and supply support to either National or Labour. However, it would be simplest for Peters to form a two-party coalition with National (probably excluding ACT), with a Govt with a total of 65 seats. Forming a Govt with Labour would also have to involve the Greens who have bickered with Peters, and would create a three-party coalition with a total of 63 seats. Expect Peters to haggle, but the diminished size of NZ First and the mandate English has will probably lead to him having to limit his demands.


The Economy – Much of the country’s short to medium term economic future will still be decided beyond our borders as evidenced by global market volatility to which NZ is still particularly vulnerable. Dairy farm debt is shaping as a major problem. Auckland's housing crisis is finally beginning to recede as restrictions on investors in particular start to bite.

Business & Economic Trends – Growth is spectacular but predicted to slip slightly by year’s end although the Trump factor could cause more dramatic changes. Inflation appears to have been tamed for now - in fact it is being seen as too low. The dollar however is on an upward trend again as markets digest the Trump presidency and Brexit. The big problem for NZ outside global market volatility and a potential crash in China.

Is there an alternative for NZ if the China trade goes bad? The TPP agreement is now effectively dead. PM English is negotiating for a quick UK trade deal post Brexit and talks on other deals with India and the EU are ongoing, but a Trump presidency is likely to bring in a new era of protectionism and the era of globalisation could in fact be dead - a big task ahead for the Government and Trade Minister McClay.

Sector Reports - How are specific sectors of the economy performing? Where are the best opportunities for investment – and what areas are best left alone?

New Legislation & Tax Laws – Market Regulation • Commercial & Corporate Law • Taxation • Health and Safety • Paid Parental Leave • Treaty Settlements.

Our special weekly “In the Lobby” column goes right to the heart of what’s happening in the Select Committees and looks at the driving forces in them, the work they’re doing, and their impact on Govt.


Trade – Businesses are benefiting from new Free Trade deals, especially the one signed with China. Asian markets are growing while European economies are still finding the going tough. But the Trans Pacific Partnership is dead. Climate change, and the environment, are moving to be high not just on the political, but also the business, agenda. Water management has become one of the battle grounds for political advantage.

The Sharemarket & Companies in the News - How will you fare as global markets go through a period of volatility? The swings – and roundabouts. What are the forces at work? Running the rule over the blue chips. Keeping an eye on the “sleepers” who may be tomorrow’s high-fliers. Spotting the movers and the shakers.

Select Committees - See what the Committees are doing and what they are thinking in our Select Committees column.

Government Department Updates - Many large organisations rely on their Public Relations Consultants, Lobbyists and Trade Associations to supply them with information on the workings of Government Departments. By subscribing to Trans Tasman you will read first hand each Department’s policy, personnel and how they interpret and implement legislation. Trans Tasman is subscribed to by many journalists and commentators from competing media.

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Trans Tasman Political Alert has a team of 6 highly-qualified specialist contributors, analysing discussions & decisions, looking at potential repercussions, identifying trends, listening to Select Committee debate & reporting on opinions, submissions & personalities. We draw upon a wide range of sources close to the Beehive inner circle who wish to remain anonymous, for obvious reasons.

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IN THIS WEEK'S ISSUE

12 October 2017

  • This Week... Winston Peters is said to be “controlling” the coalition talks but he knows if he makes the wrong call, he and his party will be history at the next election. If, as he says NZ, faces big challenges, it will need a Govt which confronts those challenges rather than handling them with a once-over-lightly approach.
  • Though the headlines about “homelessness” and the housing “crisis” have subsided and the bulk of NZers agree the country has been moving in the right direction, NZ still has a serious problem over its low productivity. Population, climate change and water quality are other issues which will be high on the agenda of an incoming Govt.
  • NZ First wants strict controls on foreign ownership, which would restrict sales of residential land and farms to NZ citizens, permanent residents living in NZ, and companies majority NZ-owned. How these restrictions can be enforced in the light of the trade agreements NZ has isn’t clear.
  • And contrary to some commentary which argued the result underlined the call for change, National’s vote was higher than Labour’s has ever been. By far the greatest number of voters appeared to back the direction the economy has travelled since National formed a governing coalition in 2008.

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