PM Lee congratulates New Zealand's Prime Minister-elect Christopher Luxon, who defeated Jacinda Ardern's successor

Prime Minister-Elect Christopher Luxon has only been a parliamentarian for three years.

Tan Min-Wei | October 16, 2023, 01:36 PM


Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong congratulated incoming New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon on his election win, and stressed the longstanding close relationship enjoyed by the two countries.

Longstanding relationship

Luxon's National Party won the Oct. 14 election, winning a tentative 50 out of 121 seats, with the former governing Labour party under Chris Hipkins losing almost half their seats, going from 62 to 34.

PM Lee sent Luxon a congratulatory letter on Oct. 15, congratulating him on his victory.

He added that Singapore and New Zealand enjoyed longstanding close relations underpinned by the two nations' enhanced relationship.

PM Lee also noted Singapore and New Zealand's many joint path-finding initiatives, such as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership, the precursor agreement to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), as well as the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement.

He also lauded the increased cooperation in strengthening supply chain resilience, and said that he looked forward to working together to further strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation, both regionally and internationally.

PM Lee said that he looked forward to meeting with Luxon soon, he also recalled the meeting they had in June 2022.

What happened?

Luxon's National Party has won a clear plurality of seats in New Zealand's parliament, winning a tentative 50 out of 120 seats, with their closest rival, the outgoing Labour Party only winning 34, as reported by Reuters.

While this is not enough to form a government on its own, its expected coalition party, the ACT Party, won 11 seats.

The combined 61 seats will mean that the expected centre-right coalition will have a one seat majority.

However, according to The Spinoff, there are still 567,000 special votes that have yet to be counted, representing about 20 per cent of the total vote.

These votes come from people who were unable to vote using the ordinary ballot for a variety reasons, such as being overseas.

According to 1News, the National Party expect to lose at least one seat after the special votes are counted, as they tend to skew towards ideologically left parties, such as Labour or the Green Party.

Ironically, that skew might make the eventual government more right wing, rather than less. If National and ACT are unable to form a government on their own, they might have to rely on votes from the nationalist and populist New Zealand First party.

The final results will confirmed in November.

Christopher 2

The result represents a stunning rise to power for the former head of Air New Zealand Luxon, who according to the BBC, was elected to parliament for the first time in 2020, taking leadership of his party a year later.

In contrast, this is a stark reversal for the Labour Party, and a rebuke of the government of Chris Hipkins, but perhaps also of the previous prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

While relatively popular internationally, Ardern's government was plagued domestically with accusations that it could not deliver on policy.

A commentary in the Guardian gives an example of an ongoing six-year failure to deliver a promised light rail line, with construction not yet even started.

Ardern left politics at the beginning of the year, saying she did not have "enough in the tank" to contest the upcoming election.

She was replaced by Christopher Hipkins, who has attempted but failed to salvage Labour's government.

Now Luxon will be tasked with resolving longstanding concerns on cost of living and housing, but will have to wait until November to know exactly who he will be tackling those problems with.

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Top image via Christopher Luxon/Facebook