New Zealand

PM-elect hopes to move quickly once special votes tallied

The incoming prime minister says he’ll be working “as quickly as possible” to form a government once the special votes have been tallied. But, he told Newstalk ZB this morning, what exactly those votes would show did create some uncertainty. “I can’t really give you a timeframe, I need to see those special votes counted,” Christopher Luxon told Mike Hosking.

He added that he wouldn’t be able to do it “exactly on Friday” – which is when the votes are revealed – but would move “as quickly as we can in the coming week”.

Asked whether negotiations had progressed significantly over the past week, Luxon said he believed they have. “We’ve still got negotiations to have, issues we’re working our way through… but we’ve been working really diligently,” he said. “We’ve used the time smartly, in a difficult time where there’s uncertainty… We’ve made tremendous progress… we all understand the urgency.”

Luxon reiterated his view that three weeks was too long for the special vote count and signalled he would look to update the law once he was in government.

Over on RNZ, Luxon was pressed for his views on the ongoing conflict in Gaza. He backed the New Zealand stance issued by the outgoing government which called for a humanitarian truce and wouldn’t specifically call for a ceasefire. “We expect all parties to be acting in accordance with international law and to demonstrate basic humanity, we also do support Israel’s right to defend itself. Hamas’s attacks were unacceptable, barbaric terrorist attacks on Israel,” he said.

“We know there is a major need to protect civilians and to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza.”

The parties on the ground “don’t want a ceasefire”, said Luxon, and New Zealand was first and foremost calling for a humanitarian truce in the region.

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