Election Live, October 18: Ardern sets timetable for new government; new community case of Covid detected

All the news and reaction as NZ wakes to a Labour landslide. You can reach us at info@thespinoff.co.nz

3.15pm: A better visual breakdown of the 2020 election results

Electoral results maps can often be deceiving, over-emphasising large but sparsely populated rural areas and under-emphasising densely populated ones. So policy analyst Stephen Beban has created the hexamap by breaking down the map into small, coloured hexagons., thereby giving a more accurate representation.

Have a read here to see what results the map shows.

 

2.40pm: Ardern speaks to media in Auckland

Flanked by senior Labour MPs, Jacinda Ardern held a press conference this afternoon at Crave Cafe in Morningside, as crowds milled ahead of the Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park. She said she expected the formation of a new government to take two to three weeks. She had spoken with both Green co-leaders and they would hold more substantial conversations. But, she stressed, “the mandate does exist for Labour”.

Ardern said she had not spoken to the Māori Party, which is set to bring one MP to parliament, in part because “we hotly contest those seats with the Māori Party.”

Asked for a thought on Winston Peters, whose political career is likely to be over, Ardern said, “I think he leaves a big legacy. He has given his life and service to politics, and that, to me, commands respect.”

Jacinda Ardern at Crave. Photo: TOby Manhire

1.25pm: New community case in NZ – Bloomfield

There is a new community case of Covid-19 in New Zealand, but it is “a case that shows our systems to identify cases early are working”, said Ashley Bloomfield.

The case is a man whose work involves working at ports, including in the last two weeks Auckland  and Taranaki.

The man had been getting fortnightly Covid-19 tests as part of routine testing. He returned a negative testing result on October 2 but on Friday October 16 he had respiratory symptoms and rang Healthline, which told him to get tested and self-isolate. His test returned positive yesterday afternoon.

There was a high level of confidence that the man’s contacts had been ring-fenced quickly, said Bloomfield. “His close contacts are either self-isolating or in a managed isolation facility.”

On Wednesday October 14 he was in New Plymouth working on a ship in the dock, and had stayed in the city for two nights, in a motel one night and a different hotel one night. Bloomfield said public health teams had advised those establishments that the rooms he stayed in should be deep cleaned. It’s thought there are no close contacts from either place of accommodation but CCTV footage is being reviewed to confirm that. Staff the man had interactions with had been offered testing.

Close contacts from his work in New Plymouth are being scoped, said Bloomfield, and is largely people on the vessel he worked on. “In the course of his work he uses a mask and gloves, as do crew on the vessel. People on that vessel he worked on in New Plymouth are being treated as close contacts.”

The ship is en route to Napier, where the public health team is getting in place plans to isolate and test the crew there once they arrive, said Bloomfield.

The man travelled back to Auckland on Wednesday evening, was not at work on Thursday and only made a trip out for food, said Bloomfield. Push notifications on the Covid Tracer app are being prepared for any potential exposure.

The man went to his workplace in Auckland on Friday, and as soon as he became unwell he contacted Healthline.

“Because the man was tested so quickly after developing symptoms… we were able to identify and isolate his own close contacts within a space of a few hours after receiving the test result yesterday afternoon.”

“We know the border is an area of risk for more cases of this virus to emerge,” said Bloomfield. “And that is why we have regularised, routine testing for many people working at our borders and other stringent measures in place.”

Asked whether the public should have been alerted earlier, he said: “All the people who needed to know were being told, identified, put in self-isolation and tested.” The minister of health had been informed yesterday evening.

Towards the end of the briefing, Bloomfield made an important clarification: “This most likely is a border related case, and so far there is no evidence of any community transmission.”

12.30pm: Judith Collins speaks to media

Despite last night’s election thrashing, an upbeat and stoic Judith Collins fronted to media in Auckland this morning to say “we’ve taken this knock, but you know what? We may be down, but we ain’t out.”

Collins expected to remain leader of the National Party, saying that stepping down was not the honourable thing to do. While she still commended her party’s effort – particularly Paul Goldsmith – she said she felt sad mostly for National’s supporters.

“I feel very sorry for our supporters, because even with the difficulties, I think we could have probably done better.”

She said the next step was to establish stability within the party and conduct a review of the past three years.

11.40pm: Bloomfield to provide briefing today

The Ministry of Health has just announced that its director general, Ashley Bloomfield, “provide an update to the media” about Covid-19 at 1pm today. We’ll keep an eye on it and left you know the latest.

10.30am: Collins says National up for a full review

Judith Collins has admitted the party’s leadership is up for a “full review” but remains positive about the future of the party. Collins sounded bright and cheery during her conversation with Newstalk ZB, saying the “sun’s shining” and she’s looking forward to the rugby tonight. She’s going out for brunch with parliamentary staff today.

“Today’s the start of the campaign,” Collins said. She remained confident she would stay in the party’s top job. Questions would be asked about how the party’s overall results were so low, Collins said, including whether there was enough focus on the party vote.

Collins admitted she felt sorry for Winston Peters, whose party has not been returned to parliament, but admitted he’s “not everyone’s cup of tea”.

9.45am: Brownlee made ‘huge mistake’ when electioneering

National deputy leader and campaign chair Gerry Brownlee said he made a huge mistake when he insinuated that the government had withheld information about the latest Covid-19 outbreak.

Speaking on TVNZ’s Q+A this morning, Brownlee said the his comments weren’t intended and shouldn’t have been made.

While he said he was disappointed by his party’s election result, he said voters had spoken and he congratulated the Labour Party on an historic win.

While Brownlee said he thought Judith Collins should remain leader of the National Party and had support from caucus, he refused to say whether he would commit to another three-year term having lost his Ilam seat.

“That’s for me to think about over the next few days.”

9.30am: Green Party ‘ecstatic’ about result

“Really ecstatic, completely stoked.” That’s what Marama Davidson, Green Party co-leader, told RNZ about her party’s election result. On the question of a governing deal with Labour, she said: “People do not want to see just one party in power.”
Any such deal would require ministerial responsibilities for Green MPs, she said.

9.00am: Labour Party to begin planning new government today

The morning after its extraordinary victory, the Labour Party has said it will need to digest its results before speaking with the Greens about forming a new government.

Speaking on RNZ today, Labour Party MP and campaign chair Megan Woods said now that voters had had their say, more energy could be devoted to planning what the new government would look like.

“That’s the work that begins today.”

“We’ve been so focused on the campaign and on the plan… and now is the appropriate time to be thinking about what that result means.”

Woods also praised her party’s result, saying it was extraordinary in an MMP environment. She also said Labour’s unlikely victory in traditionally safe National seats were unexpected wins that defied belief within her party.

“We were all watching in somewhat disbelief the fact that we won Ilam… I think that was a significant upset.”

“It’s a huge privilege to receive each and every result that we’ve received.”

7.00am: Highest turnout for 20 years

A press release from the Electoral Commission this morning puts the turnout in the 2020 election at an estimated 82.5%. If confirmed that would make it the highest turnout since the 1999 election. Last election the turnout was 79.8%.

Special votes are thought to number around 480,000,  or 17% of the total vote. The total estimated vote overall is estimated at 2,877,117.

The other details, for the nerds: “By 6pm on Friday 16 October, 3,487,654 people were enrolled, or 92.5% of eligible voters. The final enrolment rate in 2017 was 92.4%. 1,976,996 people are estimated to have voted in advance, which is estimated to be 69% of total votes cast.  In 2017, 47% of votes were cast in advance.”

6.30am: The day after the night before

If you were sleeping or off-grid, read Justin Giovannetti’s summary of election night here.

In short, the 120 seats in the NZ parliament look like this:

Labour: 64
National: 35
Act: 10
Greens: 10
Māori Party: 1



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