NZ election still anyone's game

This article is more than 12 months old

WELLINGTON: New Zealanders go to the polls tomorrow in a cliffhanger election that sees conservative Prime Minister Bill English battling a challenge from young rival Jacinda Ardern.

No party has formed a majority government in New Zealand since proportional voting was adopted in 1996, and this election is unlikely to change that.

But Mr English and his National Party looked set to be in the driving seat until Ms Ardern, 37, became opposition leader last month.

Her appointment sparked support for the ailing centre-left party, resulting in a 20-point boost for Labour, bringing it level with National. It is shaping up to be the closest election since 2005, with opinion polls swinging wildly.

Ms Arden accuses the government of inertia.

Her policy platform includes free tertiary education.

Mr English, 55, has dismissed "Jacinda-mania" as "stardust" with no substance.

The former farmer and father of six points to his previous post as finance minister, saying only National can deliver strong economic growth. - AFP

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