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New Zealand election campaign ends

IANS | Wellington |

Election campaign in New Zealand ended on Friday with the ruling National Party topping latest polls that had also predicted the possibility of a coalition government.

According to the polls, National Party is ranked first with 45.1 per cent of the total support in elections on Friday, while 46 Labour (centre left) is ranked second with 37 per cent, followed by the Green Party (7.2 pe rcent) and New Zealand First (6.6 per cent), reports Efe news.

New Zealand First, led by Winston Peters of Scottish-Maori origin, is expected to play kingmaker in forming the government if it decides to support the National or a hypothetical coalition of the Greens and the Labour Party.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Bill English, aspires to continue with its liberal economic policies, while Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, supports causes such as free tertiary education and decriminalisation of abortion.

On Wednesday, Peters avoided clarifying his party’s stand but said they are opposed to new taxes on farmers and of including agriculture in the mission control system for polluting gases, reports the New Zealand Herald.

Some of the major issues that concern New Zealand voters this election include health care, high housing prices, environment and taxes.

Around one million of the 3.2 million of New Zealanders called to vote have already cast their ballots by mail in advance.

The National Party, led by John Key, has governed the country since 2008.

Key stepped down in 2016 and the party chose English as his successor.