New Zealand 2005

Oceania

Yearbook 2005

New Zealand. The political temperature was raised before the parliamentary elections which must be held before September 24. Although the Labor-led government was able to point to the good economy under their rule, the Conservative Nationalist Party began to crack down on Labor in opinion polls. According to countryaah, Wellington is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of New Zealand. Nationalist Party leader Don Brash criticized the government for growing healthcare bureaucracy and the fact that so many New Zealanders were dependent on grants. Brash also demanded that the positive special treatment of the Moorish minority be discontinued and that the parliamentary seats reserved for Maori be abolished. Labor responded with promises of better childcare and higher child and housing allowances to 300,000 families.

Clark waited until July 25 to announce elections until September 17. When the electoral movement started seriously dominated tax issues. Both major parties promised tax cuts. In the election, Labor again became the largest party with 50 seats, just two more than the Nationalist Party. Several smaller parties also joined Parliament. The right-wing New Zealand First (NZF) declined from 13 to seven seats, the Green Party received six seats, the United Future Party three seats, ACT New Zealand two seats and the Progressive Coalition one seat. The Maori Party, which was formed as late as 2004, received four seats. The turnout was just under 81%.

Labor began government negotiations with several parties. After just a month, Helen Clark was able to present her new ministry, with representatives of the former coalition partner Progressive Coalition as well as the NZF and the United Future Party. Her decision to appoint Winston Peters, NZF’s leader, to the Foreign Minister was controversial as he went to elections several times with an anti-immigrant message. United Party leader Peter Dunne was given responsibility for certain tax and health issues. However, neither Peters nor Dunne would belong to the Cabinet. The new government had hardly a possible majority, a mandate. In some questions, however, it could count on the support of both the Green Party and the Maori Party.

Former Prime Minister and Labor leader David Lange passed away on August 13 at the age of 63. Under Lange’s rule of 1984–89, a reorientation of economic policy was made that gave the market forces more room. In 1985, his government banned nuclear-powered and nuclear-powered vessels from visiting New Zealand ports, which weakened contacts with the United States. In July 2005, Parliament voted to reject a motion to lift the ban.

In December, volunteers rescued over a hundred gate whales that had stranded at Farewell Spit on the south-west coast of South Island. A few weeks later, dozens of whales were shot in the same area after failing to help them out at sea.