September 23, 2017 / 10:32 AM / a year ago

NZ Labour leader says no immediate talks with likely election kingmaker

WELLINGTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - New Zealand Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday evening she did not expect any immediate talks with populist politician Winston Peters, whose party was poised to play kingmaker after the hotly contested national elections.

“I don’t expect there’ll be any conversations for a little while yet,” Ardern told local media as she left her home to drive to the opposition party’s function in downtown Auckland.

The comments came after 86 percent of the results counted showed Labour on 35.7 percent of the vote and the incumbent centre-right National Party on 46.3 percent.

Those results suggested each major party would need nationalist New Zealand First to form the next government.

The final tally of all votes would not be released until Oct. 7. (Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield and Ana Nicolaci da Costa; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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