The ODT – Three more years:
On any measure, the result of the 2011 general election is a resounding vote of confidence in the leadership and policies of John Key and the National Party. Not since the 1972 Labour victory of Norman Kirk has a single party reached such high levels of support, with National gaining 48% of the vote and 60 MPs in Parliament (pending the outcome of the special votes). The achievement is all the more remarkable given the challenges the country has faced during the past three years . . .
Timaru Herald – No real surpirses:
So now we know. The months of polling are over and we know for sure.
We don’t know everything, because special votes may slightly alter the picture, but we know John Key will be the one to form the Government that will take us through to 2014, when we’ll do it all again. It’s not a surprise, though some elements of the overall picture have been somewhat surprising, particularly the return of Winston Peters to Parliament on the bridge of the good ship NZ First, with a crew of seven supporting him.
For the great survivor of New Zealand politics, it’s a decidedly more comfortable ride than those of John Banks, Peter Dunne and Hone Harawira in their single kayaks. . .
The Press – A mother of a mandate:
As mandates go, they don’t get much bigger. How far will John Key push it?
In a hallmark of the Key style, he will take it as far as he thinks he can while carrying the public with him – but don’t take that as an indication he will go softly on asset sales.
Labour’s brave morning-after talk that it had won the argument on asset sales was nothing more than that – a chin-up exercise aimed squarely at the party faithful after an old-fashioned rout . . .
Dominion Post – Key has the right to sell family silver:
National has won the mandate it sought to pawn the family silver and reshape the welfare system. Prime Minister John Key would be wise to exercise it with discretion.
His party’s 48 per cent share of the vote in Saturday’s election is National’s best result since 1951. It is a personal triumph for the prime minister who has retained the confidence of the public despite having to make provision for the rebuilding of Christchurch in the midst of a global recession . . .
Manawatu Standard – City an atoll of red in an ocean of blue:
The blue tide on Saturday night came from all sides of the compass, but stopped just short of Palmerston North again.
Iain Lees-Galloway, the incumbent Labour member of parliament, somehow managed to not only stop the surge of National support over the country, he increased his majority from 1117 in 2008 to a provisional 3001, with special votes still to be counted.
National won the seat when it came to the party vote, which was probably the prime objective of candidate Leonie Hapeta, who at one stage looked like threatening to turn Palmerston North blue for the first time in decades . . .
Waikato Times – Challenge ahead for Nats:
In many way it was the most predictable election result in years.
But while his party might have walked off with some 48 per cent of the vote, Prime Minister John Key might well be ruing his actions in the closing weeks, particularly around the now infamous “teapot tapes”. . .
Hawke’s Bay Today – Labour did Nash no favours:
The election delivered just one seismic jolt in Hawke’s Bay but it was one that many had predicted and the casualty, as was the case around New Zealand, was Labour. Actually there were two other casualties in the bailing out of parliament of Labour list MP Stuart Nash and they were the city of Napier and Mr Nash himself . . .
Gisborne Herlad: Voter’s deliver big tick for John Key’s National Party:
The New Zealand public has given John Key’s National Party a big tick of approval, though not so resounding as to allow it to govern alone — unpopular asset-sale plans made that unlikely.
Mr Key has his mandate for partial privatisation of the state’s power companies and Solid Energy, though, along with radical reform of the welfare system. . .
NZ Herald – Demanding times ahead for National:
So the electorate did not want the National Party to govern alone. Other than that, which signifies its deep resistance to unbridled power, it has handed Prime Minister John Key most of what he wanted – and his opponents on the left nothing much at all.
The election result was encouraging for a party seeking a second term leading the Government. By increasing its share of the vote, and saving enough of Act and United Future to get it over the line, National has its majority. With the Maori Party’s three votes as ballast, it appears more than secure, unless special votes alter the seat allocation to National’s detriment. . .