New Zealand. The political map was unclear after the
October elections. The New Zealand First Disappointment
Party (New Zealand First, NZF) received 15 seats in
Parliament and was given a wave role. According to
Countryaah.com, Jim Bolger and the
ruling Nationalist Party received 53 seats, while the
opposition and the three-party coalition on the left with
Labor, led by Helen Clark, as the largest party received 50
In December, the Nationalist Party formed a coalition
government with the NZF, whose party leader Winston Peters
became Deputy Prime Minister and received a newly created
post as Chief Minister of Finance.
In September 2005, Prime Minister Clark and her party won
big over the National Party in the parliamentary elections.
In May 2006, the government decided that in future the
country's largest river - Waikato - should be administered
jointly with the Maoris. These had fought for 30 years for
their ancestors access to the river's resources.
In an attempt to offset New Zealand's diminished market
share for agricultural products in Europe, Minister of
Commerce Phil Goff traveled to the Persian Gulf in July 2007
to negotiate free trade agreements with the countries of the
region. New Zealand's exports to this region had grown by
10% annually in previous years.
The November 2008 parliamentary election was won by the
Conservative National Party, which rose almost 6% to 45% of
the vote. Party leader, John Key, with the support of
smaller parties, formed a minority government. The
Conservatives thus broke 9 years of Labor rule. Labor itself
went back 7% to 34% of the vote. The dramatic shift in power
was mainly due to the economic crisis. In August, the
Labor-led coalition government had announced that the
country was in recession. Many jobs were already closed and
several were on the way. Labor tried to halt voter turnout
by promising the tax cut, but the Conservatives promised
even more tax cuts, and many New Zealand voters prioritized
tax cuts higher than welfare.
New Zealand was relatively hard hit by the economic
crisis. The economy shrank by 2.6% in 2009. The government
tried to offset the recession by providing tax cuts, and as
a result, government debt is projected to grow from 25% in
2008 to 40% in 2013. At the same time, the Key government
raised VAT from 12.5 % to 15%. A change that particularly
affected the poor part of the population.
Immigration legislation was amended in November 2009 so
that the Director of Immigration can now prohibit entry
without further explanation. This move was criticized by
Amnesty International as it reduces the ability of
persecuted people to flee their home country. In the same
year, prison legislation was changed so that prisons can now
be privatized. Already, the number of prisoners is rapidly
increasing, and the Maoris are disproportionately heavily
represented were imprisoned.