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New Zealand votes to change course: millionaire becomes prime minister

New Zealand votes to change course: millionaire becomes prime minister

Six years later, the Social Democrats were out of power. The new prime minister comes from the conservative National Party, and has only been a member of parliament since 2020.

After six years of a social democratic Labor government, New Zealand has voted for change: the future Pacific nation will be led by a conservative coalition under the leadership of the National Party. The prime minister-designate is party leader Christopher Luxon. “We must now deliver for all New Zealanders,” the 53-year-old millionaire said in his victory speech. According to observers, the promised tax cuts in particular convinced many voters.

“We listened to people who need a tax break to pay their grocery bills,” Luxon emphasized.

According to previous calculations, the National Party has 50 seats in the 120-seat parliament. However, ‘special votes’ from voters who voted outside their electoral district must still be counted.

Forming a government requires at least 61 states. It is then planned to form a coalition with the right-wing liberal ACT party, which has eleven votes. “Based on the results we see tonight, the National Party and Labor can form a government,” Luxon said. Under current circumstances, an uneasy alliance with the populist, anti-immigration New Zealand First party is not necessary.

Short and sharp career in politics

The future prime minister is a successful businessman and worked for the consumer goods company Unilever for a long time, including heading the company’s branch in Canada. In 2011 he became managing director of the local airline Air New Zealand. He has only been in Parliament since 2020 – and since then his political career has taken off sharply.

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Former Labor Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, 45, conceded defeat that evening and congratulated Luxon. His party was the biggest loser: Labor won just 34 seats – thus losing almost half of the previous mandates. Hipkins only became Prime Minister in January after his world-famous predecessor Jacinda Ardern abruptly resigned from his post. “We are now playing an important role in the opposition by holding the government to account,” he said.

About 3.8 million citizens were called to the polls. Voting has been possible since October 2, and about one million people have taken advantage of this offer before Election Day. The election results are scheduled to be officially announced on November 3. (APA/DPA)