Aotearoa New Zealands election 2023

In view of the upcoming elections of in Aotearoa New Zealand, the interpreter has published a little comment of the current political situation.1 This blogpost offers a little summary of it.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s 2023 election is shaping up to be one of the most divisive in recent memory, with significant policy differences between the incumbent Labour Party and the opposition National Party. Key issues at stake range from economic policy and fiscal responsibility to Māori rights and cultural identity, creating a uniquely polarised political landscape.

Economic policy clash

Under the banner of ‘In it for you’, Labour has proposed a broad agenda, including extending free early childhood education to two-year-olds, providing financial benefits to working families and offering free dental care to those under 30. While these policies appeal to many, they come at a significant economic cost. Aotearoa New Zealand’s national debt has risen from $5 billion to over $100 billion in the last four years under Labour.

In contrast, the National Party’s ‘Let’s get New Zealand back on track’ campaign promises to cut government spending, cancel some of Labour’s projects, support the agricultural sector, encourage private enterprise and tackle rising gang violence. Their vision includes disciplined spending, lower taxes, less debt and robust fiscal buffers to withstand future economic shocks.

Co-governance controversy

Co-governance has emerged as one of the most divisive issues in this election. National’s Christopher Luxon is strongly opposed to co-governance, while some of Labour’s coalition partners, such as the Greens and the Māori Party, favour a statutory power-sharing arrangement that would give them a permanent seat in government. This proposal challenges democratic norms and is seen by some as a potential Māori takeover. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins’ vague alternative of ‘mahi tahi’ or working together has failed to reassure most voters, according to the polling data.

Cultural and linguistic debates

The possible renaming of New Zealand to ‘Aotearoa’ has become another contentious issue. Activists and even some television presenters have embraced the use of Aotearoa, while others oppose the change, arguing that it is not racist to use “New Zealand”. This debate highlights deep cultural and identity divisions within Aotearoa New Zealand society.

Reparations and deadlines

National’s Luxon has set a deadline of 2030 to resolve long-standing Māori community claims for reparations for past wrongs. Despite efforts to resolve these claims, they continue to pile up, with billions of dollars at stake. The issue of reparations remains complex and divisive.

Election dynamics

In the final week of the campaign, polls show National leading with 35.8% support, with Labour trailing on 26.8%. The Green Party, with just over 12%, and the Māori Party, with 2.8%, have significant influence. In addition, Aotearoa New Zealand First’s Winston Peters, a political figure, could once again determine the balance of power with his party’s 5.7% support, potentially forcing National into a coalition arrangement.


Aotearoa New Zealand’s 2023 election is a unique and divisive political moment, characterised by stark policy differences, deep-seated ideological clashes and cultural debates. The nation is at a crossroads, with voters facing critical choices about economic direction, Māori rights, cultural identity and the future of their political landscape. The outcome of the election will shape Aotearoa New Zealand’s trajectory for years to come, reflecting the diverse views and values of its citizens.

  1. Parker Selwyn: New Zealand elections: Working together or co-governance?, in: The Interpreter, 11.10.2023,, Last Access: 12.10.2023. []

OpenEdition suggests that you cite this post as follows:
Haureh Hussein (October 12, 2023). Aotearoa New Zealands election 2023. Transoceanic Voyages. Retrieved July 25, 2024 from

Author: Haureh Hussein

Haureh Hussein is Doctoral Researcher and Research Assistant in the DFG research project ‘Family Business: Creating a “Maritime Contact Zone” in the Colonial Anglo-World, 1790–1840’ at the Trier University. He studied history and political science at Trier and at the Catholic University Leuven in Belgium. He can be contacted via his blog:

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