See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

New Zealand: Time for Change As Well?

Oceanic country New Zealand held a general election on November 8, 2008. According to preliminary results, opposition coalition secures 45.5% of votes and 65 of the 122 Parliament seats, which means John Key of conservative National Party will become new Prime Minister. The governing Labour Party, on the other hand, loses 7 seats to 43 seats. PM Helen Clark, in power since 1999, has conceded defeat and quitted Labour Party leader post.

Jim Belshaw in Personal Reflections provides thorough backgrounds and analyses of New Zealand electoral system and this year results. To him:

This was an election that combined new and old in interesting ways.

Nik from Spatual Forum notes an interesting fact in this election, and compares the situations in New Zealand and the US:

Curiously, both Clark and Key tried grabbing for the Obama mantle; Clark noting that the US chose to go left, so vote Labour, Key saying the US went for change, so vote Nationals. There are interesting contrasts and parallels with the US election, though — a seasoned politician is defeated by a relative political novice, and the opposition party makes big gains. The difference here is, instead of the centrist-left taking over, our government is now moving more to the right. (Ironic, of course, that we left the US during the dark days of Bush and moved to New Zealand, only to have Obama win the US and the right win New Zealand!)

While some people believe to New Zealand, it’s a time for change, spruiked: djak style thinks there are not many changes:

To an outsider, Key's policies wouldn’t seem all that different to those of the outgoing government. That’s because they’re not. Finding little to fault with the current administration, Key focused his campaign on emotive domestic issues, such as improving education and fighting crime.


Saturday’s election does not represent change, so much as a changing of the guard. At the end of the day it was time for someone else to have a go at the wheel. That is what New Zealanders voted for.

As immigrants constitute a significant part of population in New Zealand, several parties have candidates with different ethnic backgrounds. To encourage minorities to vote, some immigrant-friendly measures are taken, as sarahliu88 writes [zh]:


In order to encourage voters to cast their ballots, especially minorities, voting guidelines have information in 20 languages, with traditional and simplified Chinese versions both present!

vote '08 photo by Jake Faulkner

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site