The voters of New Zealand spurned the liberal Labour Party in Saturday’s national elections, knocking them into the minority and electing a conservative coalition led by the National Party.
The center-right National Party earned about 40% of the vote, while Labour managed to win just over 25% of the vote, a sharp decline from the 50% share it earned in the last election prior to former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s abrupt resignation from her post, according to the AP. Labour had been in power for six consecutive years, but voters rejected the party at the polls after it pushed stringent COVID-19 lockdown policies, vaccine mandates and presided over a high-inflation economy as well as a wave of criminality in the island nation. (RELATED: Despite Confiscation, New Zealand Sees Most Gun Crime In A Decade)
“You have reached for hope and you have voted for change,” Prime Minister-elect Christopher Luxon said to a raucous crowd of supporters in Auckland, according to the AP. Luxon, a former businessman and corporate executive, would likely join his National Party in a coalition with the libertarian ACT party, which took home about 10% of the vote, according to The New York Times.
The vote totals have not yet been finalized, but Labour has conceded defeat in the election, according to the AP.
David Farrar, an experienced conservative polling expert, described his immediate reaction to the voting trends seen throughout the country as a “bloodbath” for the country’s left, according to the AP. The New York Times described Luxon’s incoming government as New Zealand’s “most conservative government in decades.”
Luxon campaigned on getting the country “back on track,” according to the AP, and has promised to deliver tax cuts for middle-class earners and to clean up the country’s crime problem, according to The New York Times.