There has been a lot of noise about the time it has taken to establish who the new government is. But let’s have a good look at the timeline. The 51st Parliament was dissolved on August 22, overseas voting started on September 6, advanced voting started on September 11, polling day was September 23. The final election result, which included special votes that make up 17 per cent of the total vote, was declared on October 7.
The first meeting to set out the rules of negotiation was held between New Zealand First and National then New Zealand First and Labour, on Friday, October 6. The first of a series of just under 20 face-to-face meetings with both parties separately was held at noon on Sunday, October 8. These negotiations, based on policy and policy only, were completed by 8.30pm on October 12.
The New Zealand First Board of Directors and caucus met on October 16 and 17 to go over areas of commonality, reflect on policy areas that survived the negotiation process and assess the different party positions on each policy area. Winston Peters announced the consensus decision of the board and the caucus on Thursday, October 19.
So in all it took 12 days from the declaration of the final election result for New Zealand to know who would make up its new government. And there were just over nine weeks from the start of the election to the confirmation of a Labour/New Zealand First coalition government, with the Green Party as a Supply and Confidence support partner.
As one of those sitting at that negotiating table, I can tell you that those 12 days were intense. They were fair and never predetermined. Of course, there are people who are disappointed. There always are after an election, but we must ensure that disappointment or delight is based on facts, not hysteria.
So now this government must prove to the people of New Zealand that they can deliver the policies upon which they campaigned. We have three years to do that, and we are very aware of it.
Meanwhile, of all the electorates Rodney has found itself a real winner. Rodney now has four MPs, three of them in the current government. Mark Mitchell was re-elected as the electorate MP, and I was re-elected as a list MP. We are joined by Marja Lubeck, Labour list MP, and Jenny Marcroft, New Zealand First list MP. With that level of representation, I am extremely optimistic that Rodney will gain the attention she has always deserved.
by Tracey Martin firstname.lastname@example.org