The 2017 general election resulted in a hung parliament on 23 September election night. Under MMP this is not a surprising result. Now that the special votes have been counted the National Party, under proportionality, lost two list seats awarded to them on election night with Labour and the Greens picking up one list seat each. The final result puts National on 56 seats, Labour on 46 seats, New Zealand First on nine seats, Greens on eight seats and ACT on one seat. The formation of a fourth term National-led government or a Labour / Green government requires an agreement with New Zealand First to get past 61 seats to form a majority government. New Zealand First holds the balance of power.
On August 1st, 2017, the Labour Party leader, Andrew Little, resigned in favour of Jacinda Ardern. The leadership change came as a surprise to media commentators and political pundits alike coming as it did within 60 days of the 2017 General Election.
Andrew Little decision to resign was primarily the result of the inability of the Labour Party to make any inroads in the polls with the party averaging around the mid-20s in the latest Colmar-Brunton polls. While Little's leadership was, at best, lacklustre, his biggest problem was the failure of the Labour Party leadership as a whole to come up with policies that were likely to encourage voters to vote Labour.
It is said that a week is a long time in politics. At a time when it seemed as if the National Party was going to sleepwalk to another victory at the polls. Andrew Little resigned as Labour Party leader in favour of Jacinda Ardern on August 1st, 2017, in an act initially seen as an act of political suicide. Then, in mid July, the Green Party performed an act of political suicide that has all but killed any prospect of them potentially staying in Parliament. On July 27th the opinion polls had the Greens polling at 15%, which was their highest poll rating in many years. Less than three weeks later the Greens had slumped to a mere 4.3%.
Many Western countries are increasing the age at which a person can qualify for the pension. Generally, this has often involved moving the eligible age from 65 to 67. The argument for this has been due primarily to demographic considerations, as the baby boomer generation (those born between 1945 and 1965) reach retirement age, placing ever increasing financial burdens upon these bourgeois states and their taxpayers. At least, that has been the line fed by the governments’ concerned. While demographics certainly play a role, the real cause has been the neo-liberal (capitalist) policies pursued in the last thirty years, especially in countries like Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.