Morning Briefing Oct 19: Will Labour share power with the Greens?

With Labour’s “red tsunami” sweeping through New Zealand’s electorates on Saturday night, questions are inevitably turning to what the new Government will look like.

Jacinda Ardern says it will be formed within the next few weeks, but she remains tight-lipped over what role the Green Party might play in it. 

Ardern says she’s spoken to Green co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson but reiterated yesterday there is “a very clear mandate for Labour”. The Greens told RNZ voters have given them a strong signal that they’re valued in Government. 

Ardern also discussed potentially working with the Māori Party, which is set to re-enter Parliament, but says that arrangement is more complicated. 

"Whilst I will continue to seek to be a consensus builder, I also want straightforward arrangements for this next term of office," she said.

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The other big winners

Labour and the Greens weren’t the only big winners to emerge on Saturday night.

New Zealand’s incoming Parliament is set to be its most inclusive ever with a surge of new candidates on their way to the Beehive. 1 NEWS reporter Anna Whyte has rounded up some of them here.

One of those winners, Māori Party candidate Rawiri Waititi, is hoping to stay a winner once the special votes have been counted.

Waititi pulled the Waiariki electorate back from Labour’s Tamati Coffey on election night and is now positioned to take over from John Tamihere as Māori Party co-leader.

But with a winning margin of just 415, he’s now waiting on special votes – of which there are many

Meanwhile, ACT’s David Seymour, says he has mixed feelings about his party’s big leap in support amid the Labour landslide on Saturday.

He “doesn’t like” the overall results but says ACT will play an important role in holding the new Government to account.

What now for National?

Judith Collins says she doesn’t expect to be challenged as National leader following the party’s dismal showing at the election.

She says the party “needs stability” as it takes stock of what’s happened over the past three years.  

The Herald’s Claire Trevett writes (paywalled) that it’s rare for a party leader to survive such a poor election result – but says nobody else within the National party will likely want to step into the role just yet. 

Hours after National crashed to its heavy defeat, deputy leader Gerry Brownlee admitted his party’s year had been an “absolute shocker” but he threw his support behind Collins staying on as leader.

National MP Mark Mitchell, who’s previously put his hand up for the party leadership, yesterday ruled out challenging Collins for the job. 

Peters keeps pundits guessing

NZ First leader Winston Peters was still keeping a low profile yesterday following his party’s exit from Parliament.

It was left to Northland candidate Shane Jones – who was nursing a significant hangover – to front media instead.

Jones told reporters he had spoken to Peters that morning but wouldn’t be drawn on the nature of their conversation. 

Peters was seen with a smile on his face and enjoying lunch in Russell later in the day, however people close to the veteran politician have told RNZ he’s hurting after Saturday night’s results.

Jacinda Ardern was yesterday praising Peters’ contribution to politics, saying he’s left “a huge legacy”. She says she hasn’t yet considered offering Peters a diplomatic position or other official role. 

Covid-19 in community

Of course, the fallout from the election wasn’t the only big story yesterday, with officials reporting New Zealand’s first new community case of Covid-19 in weeks.

The person works in New Zealand’s ports, including those in Auckland and Taranaki in the past two weeks, and was regularly tested as part of border testing. He became unwell on Friday and returned a positive test on Saturday afternoon.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the case was caught early and the risk is contained so no changes to current alert levels are yet planned.

Both Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Health Chris Hipkins have admitted they were told about the new case on election night but deny doing anything out of the ordinary in the handling of it.

Hipkins says the man was likely infected on a ship in Auckland. The man also worked on a ship in New Plymouth last week, which was due in Napier yesterday afternoon but has since been denied entry to that port.

Bubble bursts again

Australian state authorities have been left scrambling after revelations even more travellers from New Zealand have ventured to parts of the country not currently under the trans-Tasman bubble agreement.

Twenty-three people are in quarantine in Perth after they entered Western Australia despite restrictions.

It comes as 55 Kiwi travellers turned up in Melbourne, with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews saying he wants no part of the travel bubble with New Zealand.

Other news of note this morning:

- Rents for Auckland apartments have softened, which is being attributed to a lack of international students. 

- A new All Blacks star is in the ascendant following the team’s big win over the Wallabies yesterday. 

- Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen has secured a memorable victory at Bathurst.

- And 1 NEWS’ Good Sorts series visits an immunocompromised woman who’s using her time stuck at home this year to make masks for essential workers.

And finally...

Hilary Barry and John Campbell. Source: 1 NEWS

Given the length of this year’s extended election campaign, it’s no surprise people were ready to cut loose a little as the results finally rolled in on Saturday night.

From Hilary Barry’s jazz cabbage to dancing unicorns at the Green Party’s celebrations, 1 NEWS has rounded up a few of those moments here.