After a long three-week wait, the final general election results are in.
National’s loss of two seats means party leader Christopher Luxon and Act must work with Winston Peters to form the next Government.
In other major results, Te Pāti Māori recorded its best-ever result, taking another two Māori electorate seats off Labour in Te Tai Tokerau and Tāmaki Makaurau, meaning they won six of the seven electorates.
Their result means Parliament will have a two-seat overhang, as they won more electorate seats than through their share of the party vote (3 per cent), with another seat to be added after the Port Waikato by-election, making up 123 seats.
This would mean 62 seats would be needed to form a majority.
In a special edition of the On The Campaign podcast, NZ Herald political editor Claire Trevett explains the ramifications of the results to NZ Herald premium content development managing editor Hamish Fletcher.
Comeback kid Winston Peters
Winston Peters must be one of the most complex figures in politics.
It regularly looks like his time is up, and yet he keeps making remarkable comebacks that defy all odds.
He also defies political pigeon-holes, having worked with both Labour and National historically.
Asked on The Front Page what motivates him, NZ Herald senior political correspondent Audrey Young didn’t hesitate.
“I think it’s the contest,” she says.
“He loves a contest. And he absolutely loves a comeback as well. I think his political career is just littered with defeats and comebacks.”
Whereas other politicians would struggle to ever return after being excluded from Parliament, Peters has a remarkable knack for clawing his way back into a position of power. Even in this year’s election, there were some doubts as to whether NZ First would be able to pass the 5 per cent threshold.
“This particular comeback ranks up there with the others,” Young said.
Enemy of the state
Barrister Deborah Manning has spoken of her deepest fear for “political prisoner” Ahmed Zaoui as she finds herself again fighting for his freedom - this time from a prison in his home country of Algeria.
In a worrying update that no one saw coming, Zaoui has been arrested in Algeria and faces a tough battle to win his freedom back.
Two years ago, the New Zealand Herald released a podcast, Enemy of the State, telling the story of Zaoui and his long fight for freedom in our country.
Now, in an update, lawyer Manning spoke to journalist John Keir on what the latest development means for Zaoui.
Last month, he was arrested in a pre-dawn raid by Algerian security forces and is now in prison awaiting trial for subversion on the basis of a communique he and others had drafted calling for peace and unity.
“The authorities considered that call for peace and unity to be subversive and a challenge to their authority,” she told Keir.
“Mr Zaoui is again in arbitrary detention for expressing a peaceful political opinion.”
Manning said law school didn’t cover what one should do when a client is in prison in a foreign country run by an authoritarian regime and is a New Zealand citizen. She said it was “unprecedented”.
Kiwis have invested more than $96.2 billion into KiwiSaver over the past 16 years. While this is good news for our retirement savings, recent account balances don’t make for favourable reading.
KiwiSaver funds have slipped a staggering $1.2b in the past quarter.
Speaking to The Front Page off the back of the release of the KiwiSaver data from Morningstar, NZ Herald journalist (and host of Markets with Madison) Madison Reidy said all funds are currently struggling.
“Morningstar captures all the data across the entire KiwiSaver ecosystem and is incredibly in-depth, showing who’s up and who’s down,” Reidy said.
“Every single multi-sector fund was down. The returns were negative for the three-month period, between -1 per cent and -5 per cent.” In this episode, she explains the best strategy when the chips are down.
Amid the war in Israel, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and widespread geopolitical unrest, the plight of the Armenian people has largely been ignored.
The disputed territory, known as Nagorno-Karabakh, was once home to around 120,000 ethnic Armenians, but they have all been forced to flee their homeland.
In September, Azerbaijani forces enacted a large-scale military offensive against the breakaway state.
The military and geo-political tussle between Azerbaijan and Armenia has led to a humanitarian crisis, with families being forced to leave their homes to evade the conflict.
Dr Maria Armoudian, a senior lecturer on politics and international relations at Auckland University, and Dr Anna Matevosyan, a former student at the University of Auckland, joined The Front Page to discuss the impact of this conflict on Armenia.
The discussion offers insight into the deeply personal nature of this conflict that has uprooted families from the place they called home for generations.
Matevosyan’s mother’s side of the family comes from the region.
“My grandparents and my aunt were refugees in the 1990s, so it’s very personal for me,” she said. “During 1988 and 1990, when the [previous] war was ongoing, I was living in a frontline village ... my family, including my father and uncles, had to go and defend the border ... that was all happening at around the age of 10. Even then, I could understand that being Armenian is not a very safe thing.”
After 10 months of persistent rain, North Islanders faced the onslaught of ex-tropical cyclone Lola as it made its way across the country earlier this week.
MetService issued several weather warnings for the North Island as heavy downpours and strong winds battered the region. The stormy conditions left thousands without power and served as a strong reminder of how damaging these weather events can be.
This situation left many in the North Island questioning when – or if – the downpours would finally end.
Speaking to The Front Page podcast, NZ Herald science writer Jamie Morton says El Niño conditions should bring drier weather to the North Island, but this could take time.
“El Niño is still only forming up, really,” he said.
“We wouldn’t really expect to see the regime or its full colours until the peak of summer, when that atmospheric signal is the strongest.” While the sun will eventually arrive, Morton did qualify this with a disclaimer, saying we would be hit by strong westerly winds for much of the warmer season.
What next for the All Blacks
The All Blacks’ devastating loss to the Springboks by one point in the men’s Rugby World Cup final marks a pivotal point for the game in New Zealand and internationally.
“Aaron Smith, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Dane Coles are all retiring,” Newstalk ZB sports director Clay Wilson told The Front Page.
“Nepo Laulala, Richie Mo’unga, Shannon Frizzell and Leicester Fainga’anuku are just some of the names of people who are not going to be around. The latter three are going overseas and may come back, but we don’t know. It’s going to be a new-look team.”
Incoming boss Scott Robertson will now face the arduous task of rebuilding the team under the glare of public attention unlike any he has received in his career so far.
The raw materials are there, with some exciting young prospects coming through, but it won’t be easy to turn this into a winning machine from day one.
“No All Blacks fan is going to wish Scott Robertson ill. They’ll hope he’s successful in that role, but if it doesn’t quite pan out, how much rope does the public give Scott Robertson?” Wilson said.
“Ian Foster didn’t get a lot, right? It will be interesting to see how that plays out and what Scott Robertson can do now that this team has made it all the way to a World Cup final.”