English: ‘We will regroup’

“From here,” Bill English says, “National party will regroup” (photo: Jerry Yelich-O'Connor)

NZ First leader Winston Peters on why he sided with Labour and reaction from Rob Hosking.

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Outgoing Prime Minister Bill English, about to become opposition leader, says National will be “by far the strongest opposition party” New Zealand has ever seen.

Speaking to reporters last night after New Zealand First leader Winston Peters threw his support behind a Labour-led government with the Greens sitting on the cross benches, Mr English said he was disappointed with the result but defiant in his outlook for the future.

“From here,” Mr English says, “the National party will regroup.”

Asked what type of opposition National will be, Mr English says “a large one.”

“For a party going into opposition, we’re in better shape than you’ve ever seen. We have talent, energy and ideas – we had a group of people who were geared up to be in government.”

He said National would fulfil the traditional job of holding the government to account.

Despite his tenacity, it is unclear if he will remain in the position as National Party leader saying “that’s a matter for the next few weeks for us to discuss among ourselves.”

On the campaign trail, he had previously said he would stay on as leader even if National was not re-elected as the government.

Mr English says he is “naturally disappointed” with the result “particularly for the 44.5% of people who voted for us.”

Mr English will be succeeded by Jacinda Ardern, who has become the youngest New Zealand Prime Minister in 160 years.

He says she gave a “fairly remarkable performance, especially given just 10-12 weeks ago she was the deputy leader of a failing opposition.”

And on any advice for his successor?

“Take the role very seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously,” the former Prime Minister says.

He also issued her a challenge – “New Zealanders have seen their country going in a positive direction and she has an opportunity to build on that.”

He also made mention of one of his major focuses as prime minister – social investment, where he says New Zealand can be doing a much better job for its vulnerable.

“I would hope that an incoming government will build on that progress as well.”

National’s track record
Mr English says he is pleased with the National party’s track record and “is proud that as an outgoing government, we have left New Zealand in great shape by an international measure.”

He dwelled on some of the economic challenges faced by the government during its tenure, including the global financial crisis.

When quizzed about what’s in store for New Zealand over the next few months, Mr English opted not to answer, only saying it’s a “different result than what the markets might have been expecting.”

He called National’s campaign “impressive and energising” and that was reflected in a “pretty impressive” election night result for a party that has been in government for nine years.

He says the party will have a caucus meeting next week to discuss last night’s outcome.

Asked if he feels robbed, as National won the most seats in the election, he says “this is just MMP in New Zealand.”

“It’s not a matter of moral authority, it’s a matter of taking on the responsibility of forming a government and we have not been successful in that.”

But he does admit that it is an “unusual result.”

“There probably isn’t a party anywhere else in the world that’s got 44.5% of the vote and didn’t win the election – but we all know the rules and we play by them.”


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71 Comments & Questions

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It will be interesting if they learn from their mistakes. The major one being, not playing the coalition numbers game. They've had plenty of time to build a strong relationship with the Greens or NZF and the failing to do so has cost them this time around.

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MMP is problem here mate ... berating someone for sticking to their principles is blaming the symptom no the root cause.

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MMP is not the problem, but keep telling yourself that.

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Disagree MMP is the problem, 7.2% of the voting public control the Governments and therefore the Nations future. none of these NZ First MP's have an electorate and yet now 4 of them are in cabinet.
Its downright stupid.

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I agree that MMP isn't the problem. The Greens were the problem in this election who gave Winston all his power. A wasted 6-7% of the vote, who don't have a say when in opposition or in power. They're the ones who have let NZ down as well as anyone who cares about the environment. They get so much goodwill from the name of their party, but they're not a 'Green' party who want to get policy done. They're a nothing party.

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100% incorrect Steve.

54% of the voting public control the Government. Do you actually understand MMP?

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No a minority party without an actual electorate manipulated both larger parties into giving them what they wanted. This included 4 cabinet positions. this was pure extortion. If it was about removing National then there would have been no discussions.

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.Not really, the Green and NZF offered experienced specialists more suited to fill many portfolio positions, Jones, Mark, Martin, Genter, Shaw etc for Trade, Defence, Education, Transport and Deputy Finance. The Labour team has been restructured and most are former teachers, unionists and former lectureres and offer little experience or expertise suitable for many positions.
Half the outgoing National cabinet were incompetent and it is well known that Bill English demanded that NIck Smith be given a place in recent cabinets because he was the only member hard working, competent and simplicato with English's position to do a lot of work, the impression being that Colman, Collins and Finalyson do not greatly extend themselves with hard study on the relevant papers those outside their interests and prejudices. Within National it is and would have been a matter of fury if their members didn't get those positions but most of them arent remotely up to it and are just there to represent various interest groups and factions and look like the old National Party .

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The previous government had 20 plus in cabinet, which is not far removed from NZ First share of the vote.

Bill English was always facing a difficult task, and the majority of voted for change.

Its a stretch 7.2% is controlling government, when they have a lot in common anyway.

Better get back to cricket, because you don't seem to understand our current political system; or could it be your National (couldn't give a rats ass about others) bias I wonder.

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This is a ridiculous argument. A government has been formed that represents over 50% of voters.

Pining after FPP is pining after a system where multiple times the party that did not receive the most votes actually held power.

Really, MMP is only a problem this time around (where it wasn't last time) because people are all upset their preferred team did not get in.

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A government has been formed that consists of over 50% of the Members of Parliament. It does not represent "50% of voters" because only 80% of eligible voters actually cast a vote, Each Member of Parliament actually owes a duty to every New Zealander when making decisions in the House. Some MPs (electorate ones) owe an additional duty to all the citizens in the electorates that they represent. They do not just represent those in the electorate who voted for them. Both politicians and the NZ public needs to remember this.

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As I understand it, not for want of trying. Both JK and Bill have noted their efforts over the 9 years, at speaking with both the Greens and NZF, and being strongly rebuffed in no uncertain terms.

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Sorry Bob: that is nonsensical. Winston never wanted to work with National and that's why he waited for the Special Votes to confirm his wish. Yes this is MMP. Yes it is legal. No, it is is not right for around one million voters. The bigger party should always have the first choice to choose another party, if required, as in Germany which is where MMP comes from.

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Good luck National. Hope this time in opposition will give you time to reflect and stop your lying deceitful ways. Strong opposition is very important to protect all New Zealanders and keep the ruling government in check. Use this time to think how you will serve a greater proportion of New Zealanders as opposed to the select few.

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For goodness sake, after THREE terms in Government National wins 44.4% of the vote.
What is it about that, that you seem to not be able to ascertain who the LOSING parties are?
We now have a Government coalition of those LOSING parties, elected, not by the people, but by MR NO.

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I agree. We have the closest thing to an illegitimate government that I have seen in my lifetime in New Zealand, and a Prime Minister that 66% of the country did not vote for.

She's not my Prime Minister.

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Getting a bit salty in here already

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Not surprising Bob given the nonsense you and Jack put up.
3 Cheers for Winston First. Only polly i can think of that managed to lose 4 electorate seats on his own and then gets to decide who runs the country for next 3 years

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National could have decided who ran the country by working with the Greens or NZF over the past 9 years they were in power...but they decided National was all about National.

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...do a corruption check, then come back stronger.

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They tried, by god they tried and were rebuffed. They just don't talk about it.

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She is your prime minister. and the government is yours. Its MMP. Our citizens chose it. Our citizens voted for MPs, who chose their coalition. Smug English and Key never saw this coming - thought they could get away with their heartless housing pozi scheme forever. Until they were removed from power by the people.

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Anyone who thinks JK never saw this coming is in cloud cuckoo land! He's laughing all the way to the........ANZ

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54% didn't vote for National and we work under a MMP system that the previous National government and supporters also accepted

" not your Prime Minister' - grow up mate - you are acting like a spilt child

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Anyone else happy to crowd fund for some remedial Civics classes for Steve Smith? I'll chip in a few dollars.

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Based on the post below, let's add a Logic class?

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Using your reasoning:
64% voted against Labour. True
93% voted against NZ First. True
95% voted against the Greens. True
Ms Adern is not my PM. Never
Mr NO is not my DPM. Never
But I will not let that stop me from enjoying my life, both business and leisure.

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I'm with you John!!! At least Bill and his team remained loyal to their voters. How many new cabinet members who weren't actually elected to Parliament?

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Crazy talk, the majority has decided it is better to invest in the countries core services than to give a $1000 bribe

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The reality is NZ voters don't like long term governments - more so in this era of need to continuous new shiny stimulation. Actually I see this result as a potential win for National in the longer term.

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I disagree with your 66% comment. I suspect most Green Voters realised that Ardern would lead any coalition not Shaw. I suspect a lot of NZ Firsters realised a vote for that party was a vote for either Ardern or English and not Peters for PM.

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House of Cards

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Correct Mr/s Traveller.
A house built on sand.
To all those who are running back and forth crying "56% voted against Nats", I respectfully ask your cry should include "66% voted against Labour 93% voted against NZ First and 95% voted against the greens", should it not?
Be a little more honest would it not?

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Stay on Bill, don't listen to all the liars in the media. National will only get stronger as the crazy, out-of-touch left self-destruct in side Winston's vortex of senile instability.

You'll be back inside 18 months.

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If I was Bill I'd be saying, let's just see how long they last. It won't be long before they're all at each others throats.

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Time to flush out the arrogance.

Leading the country is a privilege, rather than a right.

NZ needs a government that focuses on sustainable economic development. The trickle-down theory clearly doesn't work, especially with the level of overseas ownership we have in core business who keep exporting their super profits (that previous governments haven't had the strength to regulate) which has equated to declining internal spending.

Time for kicking the can down the road has gone.

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BS! I will bet that repatriation of profits offshore for 2016/17 will be the same or less than the yearly average. I will also bet that economic activity driven by imported funding from immigrants has been driving our economic rise.

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I'll bet you anything you like there's a massive deficit to the tune of $14 billion per annum. Go check the Government Books, and an apology would be nice!

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I agree. This was the first time in a long time I didn't vote for national (I didn't vote for labour either!). They need to rid themselves of their smug demeanour, and get rid of their insane heartless housing policies. Basically all national supporters in their 20's and 30's had second thoughts about even voting for national - it won't take long before National become irrelevant if they keep that up.

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Good point, I want to see Adern and Peters stop those insane banking profits heading offshore.

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They don't all go offshore, I get some along with other NZ domiciled bank shareholders

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Personally i would like Bill English to remain as leader (assume he wants to). I think we need strong continuity from the National Party to offer a sound alternative to whatever it is we now have.

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Agreed, when the Greens wake up to the fact they have been shafted, the national party needs to stay strong as they prepare for a snap election. My predictions, coalition will last 18 months, Jacinda will go on maternity leave and Greens will fall apart

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Young Nationals: "You should go"

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Yay, finally we will get some proper surpluses for the next 3 years! Not this micro-managed eking out a tiny surplus from the two economies National has (one economy of the rich and the other economy of the working poor).

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"proper surpluses"? Dream on.

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These were surpluses following GFC and earthquakes remember, lets see what Labour can bring, they did promise a lot of re-election spending, that money has to come from somewhere?

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Your right, but your understanding is wrong.

Most insurance monies came from overseas owned companies, and the government did particularly well out of the GST revenue they received from the associated rebuild. This acted as a one off stimulus, which has now gone.

Problem was they used it to buy up most of the Christchurch CBD at hughly inflated prices on a dream scheme that is going to take decades to work. If you know anything about vacant land, which I suspect you don't, its only worth what the market can bear. Few tenants can afford the rent needed to support a new build, and Christchurch has run out of those tenants.

As part of this dream scheme, they knocked down perfectly good older style buildings that would have been more affordable to rent. The only conclusion you can come to with this dream scheme is it was cooked up to help out the already wealthy CBD land owners.

Yet there still people living in garages down there.

The best think that could happen now is for account holders to leave ANZ in mass for Kiwibank or TSB, in protest on Jonkey's shonky leadership which appeared to be based around lending more money from his overseas mates.

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English probably will not commit to another 6 years. So he decides to go.

In this event do national analyse their situation and say, "We were close. A few tweaks and we are there," or "after 9 years do we really need to refresh the front line so we look appealing in 2020?"

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Weve got the drongos, we deserve: In government and in opposition.

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I voted for the Nats and am annoyed at the outcome however some blame also needs to go to all the leadership group as they were outnegotiated and did not think strategically at any stage of the campaign and should have secured Govt at all cost and then addressed the issues arising.Poor show all round and have seen to be surprisingly old and unenterprising.

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No, it is legitimate in negotiations to walk away if one party with much less power over-demands, which Winston did. National would not be rolled completely. Jacinda got out-negotiated. How do we know that? Because she is now the PM-designate (not PM-Elect).

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Isn't 20/20 hindsight a wonderful thing!

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You voted for Nats? Then you should be happy that the Nats are the strongest party in parliament.
The Nats are untarnished by Mr NO.
That your leader Mr English did not let the dutch auction affect his judgement and offer Mr NO more than what Ms Adern did. You and your mates in the Nats did so have a very lucky escape
The fact is your party is the strongest party in Parliament, and (in the eyes of many) it is the cleanest.
It also has a competent and experienced leader who is 17 years younger than Mr No.
Think about it Mr "Jimmy....." and celebrate it.
the next election may be closer than you think and it is all yours.
Have a drink buddy, and have one for me too:)

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Whoever leaked Winston's super information should be kicked from national - that was party treason. Why on earth would you swat at Winston like a junk yard dog when he can give or take away your power? national was way too smug particularly how they handled him. And look what bloody happene.d

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"leaked ............ kicked ........ treason" So you believe the messenger be hung, drawn and quartered??
MMMMM But Winston has assured us all that he did nothing wrong?
And that an officer of the IRD graciously took time out from a busy schedule to inform the Government that Mr Peters had done nothing wrong!
So what was leaked?

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The last too coalitions Winston has been involved in only lasted 1 term and a new government got in at the next election...I don't think this will be any different

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We took pride in being the only sane nation when the rest of the world was going mad. But thanks to Peters and his blinkered, biased views on what this country needs (not what we clearly voted for), we’re now no better than the rest.

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Great result for NZ and for agriculture. The National governments head in the sand ,laissez faire volume based approach was degrading our environment and our unique provenance potential. Agriculture needs rebalancing in terms of sustainable land use options, business as usual was just kicking the ball down the road. It is timely that issues around foreign ownership and control, especially of value chains can now have the ruler run over the various criteria. Farmer fears are by the large a result of the various representative bodies seeking to prolong their mandate, and in some cases are spurious. A lower dollar for example adds considerably to individual bottom lines, I'm all for that

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Finally someone talking sense, rather than the arrogant commentary from armchair bias national voters (who are struggling with eye sight these days).

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L/NZF/G: "The way we will get through this is on dak".

NZ:...awkward....

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The arrogance and conceit, not to mention rudeness and contempt, of Dr No in failing to advise the leaders of National and Labour prior to making his announcement is breath-taking. However I am not surprised.

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As Donald Trump would say, Bill you are fired.

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I suspect a night of the long knives will soon show us just how fractious the National Party were in representing right wing views. They might do a lot better for themselves if they embraced MMP by splitting into groups such as TOP, ACT, PAM (Pale Stale Males), BB (big business), DFP (dairy farmer poluters), and HCP (Hobsons Choice)

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There is more pollution nationwide with an urban source than comes from farm dairies.
The Taranaki Regional Council is regularly saying that the water quality of our rural rivers is improving and in fact the greatest source of river degradation comes from within the boundaries of the Egmont National Park where no bovine has ever set foot. (Edited)

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"Auckland Council plans an extra $600m to clean up Waitemata Harbour"

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11934431

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As a long time Nat supporter i say we dodged a bullet. We now have 3 years controlling the Select Committees to stymie the Coalitions policies and attack them in the House showing up their lack of experience and knowledge. Three years to hoover up the disaffected NZF and Green supporters and to do what Labour did to the Maori Party.

2020 will be a 2 way fight Left vs Right with no hangers on. the flirtation with MMP hasnt worked because most of the electorate do not understand the finer points.

Meanwhile popcorn time watching the Coalition fall apart. Betcha the newbie Green wimmin will be the first to break ranks when Winston upsets their sensitive snowflake sensibilities.

LOL.

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Maybe thats why the Nat's failed, all about the political games, not about the country they represent.

LOL.

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Yes! Let the good times roll! Already Winston is talking about it as a New Zealand First-Labour Coalition Government. Hey, Winston, what about the Greens???? Without them mate, you couldn't even pass wind in the House!

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Yes, new cabinet members who couldn't win a seat, and a deputy PM who lost his!! Hang in there Bill. This is going to be interesting.............

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Scale of opposition party representation does not necessarily translate into automatic surrogate incumbency. Granted, one can find countervailing examples- the Key-led National Opposition (2006-2008) and the Lange-led Labour Opposition (1981-1984) come to mind. However, there is also the precedent of the Clark-led Labour Opposition (1993-1996), prone to factional dissent and decaying voter share due to the antics of "Mad Mike" Moore. Bill English might be a prudent choice as long-term Leader of the Opposition, but there is considerable blue deadwood to be removed from his party and one hopes he comprehends that. Nick Smith was a ministerial liability subject to continual gaffes. Judith Collins is a populist show pony. Anne Tolley was an incompetent minister. If National is to recover, it needs to regenerate its shadow Cabinet. It may be the case that Stephen Joyce succeeds English, or it may not. Certainly, he must be the heir apparent when it comes to National Party leadership. He is certainly the most capable and multilateral of the potential successors to Mr English.

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