The polls are just closing in the NZ election, for which the opinion polls have been all over the place. I’m surprised the result is even close. Helen Clark seems to have done a pretty good job, the Nationals were terrible when last in office, and while Don Brash seems like a nice enough guy in personal terms, he wasn’t much of a success as head of the Reserve Bank. The Monetary Conditions Index he introduced was a disaster and he zigged where the RBA zagged at the time of the Asian crisis, producing an unnecessary recession. However, we’ll know the result soon enough.
Update 6:30 pm Although I don’t have any knowledge of the details of the NZ system (such as which areas are counted first), the Nationals have a big lead with 20 per cent of the vote counted, and will presumably form the new government, either with an outright majority or with the support of NZ First.
Further update Sunday AM A premature concession last night! As in Australia, it appears that rural polling places finish counting first. It looks as though Labour may be returned, although the complex relationships between the various minor parties may complicate this. A sidelight of interest in relation to the debate over economic reform is that ACT (Association of Consumers and Taxpayers) was wiped out. It originally stood for uncompromising support of the free-market reforms of the Rogernomics era, but broadened its basis with law-and-order and anti-Maori rhetoric. The disappearance of ACT is not really good news, since the Nationals have adopted much of the same rhetoric on race issues, but it can reasonably be said to mark the end of the era of radical reform.
Yet Further update Sunday PM Wrong again! Rodney Hide of ACT got back in with an electorate seat, and MMP may give ACT one more. That’s what comes of trying to follow elections while in dialup mode, I guess.