National expected to be returned in general election today
The people of New Zealand will be voting in their general election today to elect the 120 members of the House of Representatives.
The 3,096,247 eligible voters will be able to choose from fifteen registered parties and 554 candidates. Polls open at 9 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. local time across the 2,650 polling stations and the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system will be used, giving voters two votes, one for a political party list and one for their local representatives. There are 71 single-member constituencies across the country, 64 of which are general electorates and seven Maori electorates.
The fifteen political parties standing are:
1. ACT New Zealand
2. Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party
5. Democrats for Social Credit
6. Focus New Zealand
7. Green Party
8. Internet MANA
9. Labour Party
10. Māori Party
11. National Party
12. New Zealand First Party
13. NZ Independent Coalition
14. The Civilian Party
15. United Future.
In the 2011 general election the New Zealand National Party (National) led by John Key won the election, taking 47.31% of the vote and 59 seats. The last four opinion polls conducted for this election suggest that they will get around 46.4% this time which equates to about 58 seats. National had scored over 50% support at the start of the campaign but in the last few days their support has weakened due to several controversies. They are expected to be able to form a government with several smaller parties.
Labour, the main opposition, led by David Cunliffe won 34 seats on 27.48% in 2011. The latest polls suggest they will get 25.7% or about 32 seats this time. The Greens, the third largest party last time with 14 seats and 11.06% are on 12.5% in the latest polls which could give them 16 seats. New Zealand First took eight seats in 2011 with 6.59% and this time they are on 7.6% in the polls aggregate.