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UK Election

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 am, May 7th, 2010 - 72 comments
Categories: uk politics - Tags: , , ,

A place to discuss the UK election and the results as they emerge.

Follow The Guardian’s election blog:

5.17am: This is what Gordon Brown told reporters on the flight down to London.

I am the leader of the Labour, but I have also got a duty to the country. Two things are now clear. The economy is incredibly important to our future and we must be sending out the right message to the world. The second is the political reform agenda is there. What is clear is that the expectations of the Conservative party have not been met.

3.26am: On the BBC, Jeremy Paxman says talks between Labour and the Lib Dems have already begun.

2.55am: David Cameron will not challenge Gordon Brown’s right to try to form a government, the BBC reports. Cameron is due to make a speech in about 10 minutes. Cameron will say that the Tories have a moral right to govern. But he is going to respect the constitutional conventions.

Apparently Cameron will also condemn the fact that so many people were unable to vote. (Brown only made an indirect reference to this in his speech.)

It all depends on the final numbers of course; the swings in the target seats are uneven so the exit polls may not be definitive. But by now it’s pretty likely that the Conservatives would be able to cobble together a government with minor party support.

Congratulations to the UK Greens on their first seat in parliament! If the move to proportional representation takes hold it will be the first of many…

[Writers, update at will! — r0b]

72 comments on “UK Election”

  1. Tigger 1


    Sounds like a really interesting election in the UK. Just as well someone from NZ is there observing it…

  2. sukie Damson 2

    Fox News just called the UK election for Bush.

    • r0b 2.1

      Hah! Brilliant. No doubt the Privy Council will fall quickly in to line…

    • ianmac 2.2

      sukie: That may be true in that the Bush war cost Labour credibility/support.
      But who knows with Fox? 🙂

  3. r0b 3

    No but seriously, it’s interesting times for the UK. No recent experience with hung parliament, and they are all of a twitter about it. One good thing, looks like the momentum for electoral reform will be strong…

    • Lew 3.1

      Yes. Labour as well as Lib Dem representatives both stating support for it. That’s the best possible outcome. All the problems with high turnouts, voter lockouts and so on — as serious as they are — pale into comparison with the failings of FPP.


  4. coge 4

    Sorry folks. Exit polls don’t count for much, many keep their vote secret, or they want to appear “with it” So my call is a Conservative majority. There is only one way to get rid of Brown, & that ain’t voting Lib Dems.

    • Maynard J 4.1

      Oh so everyone wants to get rid of Brown, that’s the founding premise of your argument. Traditionally exit polls aren’t that off the mark (i am basing that on no research, just “what I remember” 😉 )

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    Exit poll has libdems actually losing a seat compared to last time…


    • Bright Red 5.1

      I find that hard to believe. I can’t find details of the exit poll but I assume it’s a national poll assuming a uniform swing, that just doesn’t work.

      The best coverage is here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/election2010/results/

      Only 26 of 650 seats in but of the 13 that were Labour they’ve held 11, lost one to the Cons and one to Plaid Cyrmu, which is leftwing.

  6. sukie Damson 6

    Yes, they need to agree on their MMP and then vote again. Ideally it would be done quickly. But I can’t see the civil service changing the mother of all parliaments constitution within the lifetime of a minority government.

  7. Lew 7

    What fun, they’re having the same arguments about the “moral legitimacy” to form a government as were had here around our election. Which are nice and all, but the constitutional status is pretty clearly.


  8. Sinn Fein rewon a seat in Northern Ireland with a big swing. Interesting.

    But son of Ian Paisley wins. Bugger …

  9. gingercrush 9

    I’m predicting the Conservatives will squeak in a majority. Its all amateur hour really though. The whole thing looks like an election from the 1960s or something. The fact people were moaning to me seems hilarious since they had all day and most of the night to turn up to the polls. The Greens look set to win a seat (or have won a seat). BBC coverage is full of sniping and to have Joan Collins talk about how the Conersatives are focusing on the nuclear family was just pathetic.

    They need electorate change but they need the whole process changed. To have all the candidates go sit in a community hall etc is just pathetic. As for turnout it looks set to be increased on previous elections but its still bloody low.

  10. freedom 10

    so some pieces got shifted on a board with no squares, it won’t change anything.
    it breaks my heart that a tool as strong as democracy has been left to rust in the shed when it could have been carving wondrous forms from the resources available.

    might as well grab another cuppa tea and wait for the regurgitative press to start hollering the hacknied post election drivel we see year in year out.

    its not pessimism, its disgust at the decades of opportunity that have been stolen from society to allow a few thousand people treat the fate of billions as some pecuniary birthright

    • r0b 10.1

      Ya know, I can relate to a lot of these sentiments. But I have so far failed to figure out a better system. Maybe not this thread, but one time it would be interesting to discuss alternatives to party based representative democracy, and particularly whether any interesting new options are enabled by the internet / mobile technology…

      • NickS 10.1.1

        …Or brain implants r.e. Alastair Reynolds books 😛
        /sci-fi geek

      • freedom 10.1.2

        There is (basically) no problem with the system we have, it is how the system is implemented that is the problem. If the elected officials worked for the electorate and not the elite we would certainly be in a better place than the oubliette we currently occupy

      • Rex Widerstrom 10.1.3

        discuss alternatives to party based representative democracy, and particularly whether any interesting new options are enabled by the internet / mobile technology

        Ooooo yes please! I guarantee to better my own record as “most verbose commenter” 😀

        The trouble with such things, though, is that they last a day and then are forgotten. Subsequent thoughts from participants remain unwritten, and latecomers to the debate don’t bother.

        It’s a national discussion we need to have, but in a forum that’s less issue-of-the-day (no disrespect to The Standard, such is the nature of all blogs). A sub-site perhaps, permanently linked from the top of the main page? (Yes, more work… sorry Lynn).

        • lprent

          Waiting for the release of WordPress 3.0 which has the multiple sites from one set of code built in. This is what wordpress.com uses. Current ETA is May 15 and I’ll need to play with it first (haven’t had time to play on the betas).

          That means I can keep the multiple sites running (provided they share the base domain of “thestandard.org.nz”) with a single ‘place’ to do upgrades. Whereas at present to run multiple sites would require me to upgrade multiple directories.

  11. ghostwhowalksnz 11

    See the Tories trying to talk up the ‘party with the largest vote ‘ should form the government – Tell that to Al Gore who won the largest number of votes.
    AS with the US where voters only elect delegates to the Electoral college, the UK voters only elect MPs.
    So until Brown resigns or he loses a no confidence motion in Parliament he would remain PM.
    So I think Brown could be there for while yet. As the results could be 2 weeks away.

  12. Maynard J 12

    Does a higher turnout tend to favour the Left as it does in NZ? There’s talk of a much higher turnout this time, the last was what, 60%? This time we’re getting people being turned away from polling stations.

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    Some scottish socialist youths are live blogging it..


    “EXCLUSIVE from Edinburgh count: Communist League definitely not taken Edinburgh South.”


  14. MollyByGolly 14

    The number of seats going to “other” is interesting – which way will the allegiances and votes of these MPs go?

    • Bright Red 14.1

      The Others are about half right, half left so far – the Democratic Unionists are Tory allies, the others are more leftwing.

  15. Wow

    An early prediction. The tories will be well short of a majority. The good old northerners are holding out.

    The UK needs MMP big time.

    • WillieMaley 15.1

      Got to trust those North Brits:)
      BTW on nine to noon this morning the political sceintist inteveiwed was of the opinion that MMP style politics would favour the Tories in the UK.

      • mickysavage 15.1.1

        Got to trust those North Brits:)

        Sure do!

        I would still support MMP. The conservatives would be in a permanent right wing minority, even if Labour lost some seats.

      • I dreamed a dream 15.1.2

        “MMP style politics would favour the Tories in the UK.”

        Whoever the political scientist who said that, got it wrong!

        The reason why David Cameron and the Tories don’t want MMP is that they fear a “perpetual Lib-Dem+Labour government”.

        Just look at the voting percentages, the combined centre-left totals will always outnumber the centre-right. That’s why Cameron and Tories are scared of MMP.

  16. ianmac 16

    Helen Clark managed to hold together a coalition for 9 years! The first to do so. In the UK they face the same hurdles but without a popular vote to work from. It is possible, but perhaps Helen could be employed as a consultant?

  17. lprent 17

    Have http://www.guardian.co.uk/ sitting on my desktop. Watching the numbers tick over automatically.

    The UK seriously needs to get proportional representation from a cursory look at the numbers. The LibDems have 22% of the vote counted vs Lab on 26% and Con on 35%

    But LibDem have 22 seats so far vs Lab with 111 and Con with 137

    I’d forgotten how bloody awful the FPP gerrymander made politics…

    • Herodotus 17.1

      You are making the assumption that with a MMP system voter trends/loyality will remain the same. With FPP you can vote for a 3rd tier party as a protest without having the implications. Think what would have happned in 84? with Soc Cred. I am 51% confident that SC would not have had such a strong support with MMP. Then ther is the STV system, After a few electon cycles people become aware of how the system is. With a 5 yr term the learning may take a generation or 2. I think that a 3 yr cycle is good initially with a new system then as we the voter understand how it works and how the pol parties “USE it” then the term could be extended. BUT I would hate to have a 5 yr term to find out “I” got it wrong with how to vote and what I got was not what I intended!!!!

      • zonk 17.1.1

        Think the voter patterns may change. More people might vote for the Greens if they thought that their vote might actuallly be meaningful.

        And probably all those people who have been wasting their vote voting for Lib Dems will either not vote or vote crazy monster party or watever it was.

  18. The Voice of Reason 18

    My favourite bit so far is the succesful Labour candidate for Tooting laughing while saying ‘power to the people’ in his speech! Where’s Wolfie when you need him?

    Link for younger readers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_Smith

    You’ll be first up against the wall come the revolution!

  19. Ha

    Lord Ashcroft just got nailed trying to defend his tax status and denying it had any political repercussions.

    He does not want to pay tax so that he has more money to use to try and subvert the democracies of other countries …

  20. KTanner 20

    [lprent: bahandhumbug – You’re now banned (under all of your names) for dicking around with peoples identities. And I’ve also added you to the spam trap. ]

  21. Pascal's bookie 21

    Good point on the panel, (Bernard Hiccup maybe?).

    Worst recession in ages, govt drowning in debt, a PM who’s hated by half his own cabinet let alone the electorate, Iraq, Body bags from Afghanistan…

    And this is the best the tory party can do?

    Pretty suck.

  22. gingercrush 22

    Greens win their first seat.

    Labour will need the Liberal Democrats and other parties. The Conservatives will need to depend on Liberal Democrats as well.

    David Cameron lost momentum a number of months ago and never really regained it. His campaign in the last four weeks was awful.

    • cal 22.1

      I think the Lib Dems and Conservatives have ruled out working with eachother, which is good. I’m following this pretty little BBC map if anyone wants to take a gander at it http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/election2010/results/

      • Pascal's bookie 22.1.1

        They’ll work together. May not want to go a full term though.

        • cal

          Yeah, I can’t see a Lib Dem/Tory coalition lasting very long. FYI if my maths is correct (which it probably isn’t, but oh well), the Conservatives need to win about half of the remaining seats to have a majority, Labour have now lost the oppertunity to govern by themselves and now definatley need Lib Dem support

          Please, someone correct me if I’m wrong though

  23. Zak Creedo 23

    Hung this time — drawn and quartered the next time if they don’t get it right!

    Anyone yet guessed why Brown came out for Clegg early on..? Likely he, too, figured, the Tory plot based around US republican faint praise for their political opponents.. to wedge their own guys into play… at least this accounts in large part for the less-than-expected lib-dem turnout.

    Up the democrats!

    • Pascal's bookie 23.1

      The Lib Dems, I’m guessing, got done by the fact that even a couple of days ago there were 40 percent undecided. If those voters break even a little bit one way from the ‘decided’ proportions then ya third party gets swamped…

  24. Bye Bye Gordon.

    • r0b 24.1

      Don’t expect too many round here to shed any tears. I would have voted Lib Dem. UK Labour lost their way.

  25. Name 25

    Looks like the British voter chickened out at the last minute. Hardly surprising given the parlous state of the world but they decided that experimenting with the electoral system wasn’t a good idea – and then delivered the worst possible result.

    With the Conservatives having both the most seats and biggest share of the poll Clegg has no moral cause to go with Labour unless he makes it a single issue decision – Clearly the system needs reforming but the Tories know they’ll lose out big time under any kind of PR so they’re unlikely to give ground on that if Clegg demands it as a price for support. Thus Clegg could morally go with Labour if they promise to support PR, which they’re far more likely to do.

    Unfortunately Clegg has boxed himself into a corner by stating that he won’t work with Gordon Brown.

  26. Interesting that many of Cameron’s “bright young things” did not make it. Regrettably all of the coloured candidates appear not to have made it. I guess conservative voters still have a rascist tinge to them.

    • Gosman 26.1

      Really? Do you have any evidence for this aside from your own prejudiced viewpoint?

      Also when you state ‘…conservative voters still have a rascist tinge to them’ is this all of them or just the ones you probably have never met.

      • felix 26.1.1

        I think he means all the ones what didn’t vote for none of the coloured candidates.

        Jeez man, lern to frickin reed.

        • Gosman

          Actually he didn’t state that at all. That is just your spin on his words.

          Even if he did where is the evidence that Conservative supporters in those continuencies didn’t vote for their candidate because of the ethnic backgrounf of the candidate?

          • felix

            And the first four words I typed were….

            Once again man, lern some frickin Inglush.

  27. Carol 27

    I watched the coverage on Al Jazeera on Triangle most of the afternoon. They reckoned that Cameron/Tories had ruled out a deal with the Lib Dems today, and would probably look to the right wing Northern Ireland MPs for support for them leading a minority government. Meanwhile Brown had said he would talk to the Lib Dems, but seemed to indicate in his electorate speech, that he was bowing out as leader. ie it looked like he would try to do a deal with the Libs for Labour, but also stand down as leader.

  28. So its a coalition government with the conservation party and the liberl democrats??

  29. millsy 29

    The UK people were sick of Labour, but werent ready to give the Conservatives a blank cheque.

    Thats how I see it.

    Dissapointing to see the Lib Dems fail at the final hurdle, but that’s what you get for peaking too early.

    Good to see a close election, rather than the big thrashings we have normally seen over the past few years.

    • zonk 29.1

      It’s like 1993.

      No one trusts any of them.

      A complete British affair- no one has managed to win and everyone is disappointed.

  30. gobsmacked 30

    Labour plus Lib Dems: no overall majority.

    Conservatives plus Unionists (Northern Ireland party): no overall majority.

    There could be a majority for PR (or rather, a referendum on PR) if Brown wants to go for it. Labour plus Lib Dems plus Scottish/Welsh Nationalists plus one Green (yay!).

    But Brown would a) have to get every Labour MP to vote for it and b) get it done ASAP, before the parties fall out over something else. Not much chance, I reckon.

    Clegg should offer his support to Cameron, in exchange for a PR referendum. It’s the only viable option for a majority. Lib Dems would hate supporting the Tories, but it’s their best/only chance. There’s no way PR will happen just because it “makes sense” – it has to be forced. If Cameron won’t have a bar of it, then Lib Dems could vote the gov’t down. Which means a new election. Under FPP. Big, big risk.

    More likely, Cameron will form a minority government, and Labour/Lib Dems will sit this one out, waiting for the Tories to become unpopular (and they’re not exactly starting from a high base).

    New election in a couple of years?

  31. Carol 31

    Well, at the moment, Labour-LibDems-Green are running neck and neck with the Tories. So Labour would be silly not to take a stab at forming a coalition with the Socts/Welsh, & there’s a party with 3 seats so far called “Social Democrat & Labour”. But it would be a bit of an unwieldy & probably shaky coalition. And the suggestion is that it will be Hariet Harman or David Miliband who would lead it.

    • RedBack 31.1

      The Lib Dems have also expressed an interst in working with Alan Johnson. Only because he is a very outspoken proponent of PR. But to be honest the tabloids are already going after Brown and demanding the keys for No.10 before all the results are known. Gotta love those media barons. Champions of democracy. Just seen some of the overnight results glad to see the Greens have picked up their first seat in Brighton. Well done them. This isn’t the “1997” landslide the Torys were hyping for. Whoever takes power will be out at the next election. Gald to see Labour aren’t going down without a fight. Best result. Margaret Hodge giving the BNP a bloody nose in Barking & Dagenham. Alot of kudos has to go to the Hope Not Hate campaign in east London on that one.

      • toad 31.1.1

        Remember Tasmania! Where the arrogant Tories who won a small plurality of the vote thought they could take the Greens for granted, so chose to not negotiate anything.

        Result: Labor-Green government. Let’s hope Cameron displays the same born-to-rule arrogance, although the undemocratic FPP system gives him (and Brown) a considerable and unfair advantage.

  32. outofbed 32

    Go Caroline Lucas …Yeah

  33. RedBack 33

    The issues surrounding the polls closing before everyone had a chance to vote is a bit embarrassing for the UK. Plus it appears there was no consistent approach on how the affected polling stations dealt with it. Effin’ shambolic. I know the Brits are sticklers for tradition. But really would it hurt them to move their polling days to a Saturday?

    Just seen the law on polling days. Days that elections cannot be held in the UK include Saturdays & Sundays plus the obvious bank holidays. Flippin’ daft.

    • Lew 33.1

      Do you really think the administrative failings of a small proportion of polling centres make a blind bit of difference given that somewhere north of 40% of electors who cast their votes legitimately had no impact whatsoever on the outcome due to the electoral system which abides in the UK?

      I mean, sure — it sucks for those people that they didn’t even get a chance to vote. But let’s have a bit of perspective. Spare a thought for the 15,903 Lib Dem voters of Camborne & Redruth, whose incumbent candidate lost by just 66 to the local Tory.


      • RedBack 33.1.1

        You got no argument from me on that one Lew. That is rough. Shows up what a nonsense system that FPP actually is more than anything else.

  34. RedLogix 34

    Monbiot is always worth a read as usual:

    By instructing us, over the years, to heed fears, not hopes, such voices have allowed Labour to abandon everything it once stood for, and hand us, trussed and oven-ready, to big business and the Daily Mail. We’ll be trapped like this forever, in New Labour’s Bermuda triangulation, unless we vote for what we believe in rather than just against what we don’t.

    The extraordinary aspect for most commentators is that after so long in power, after two PM’s who promised much but ultimately dissapointed greatly, after betraying their core values so profoundly and after leading the nation over the brink of fiscal disaster… that the UK Labour Party has retained as many seats as it has. And conversely the real defeat at this point has been the Tory’s’s failure to attain a clear majority.

    Cameron will form a minority govt, the IMF and EU will force dramatic austerity measures on the UK as the govt deficit and the pound comes under huge pressure… and the opportunity will be with Cameron to win the clear confidence of the majority and lead his nation through.

    • Lew 34.1

      And if we (the whole world, I mean) are very, very fortunate, Nick Clegg will see meaningful electoral reforms implemented as a condition of supporting the Tories. That would be a greater legacy than those left by either Brown or Cameron.


  35. RedBack 35

    Looks like the writings on the wall for Labour. Clegg’s hinting that he will do a deal with Cameron. The Torys are set to make an announcement at 1430 UK time. The deal will probably be announced then. Be intersting to see if the Lib Dems are prepared to tart themselves with the Torys in exchange for giving up on electoral reform. Or will we see the first Cameron backpeddle? If there is a coalition with the Lib Dems I have a feeling some of the more hard right policies will have to be ditched. Five years of watered down ineffective Torys.
    Brown will go before the weekend is out. Milliband, Harman or Johnson installed asap.Bring on 2014/15…..

    • ak 35.1

      Tories. Please.

      Apart from that, who really gives a rat’s?

      Shifting the deck chairs on an addled and decrepit hulk is as boring as it is irrelevant. The Blair/Mike Pero/Key/Obama/Cameron Axis of Inefffable Affability has not only run its course, but is about to run headlong into Payback.

      Sorry, Colonel Blimp and Sting, but “we” literally are the world. And yes, like you, we do remember them: and have far, far, far more to remember.

      Put your mokopuna into Kohanga and Mandarin, Redback. Entertaining as she may be to observe on Poirot or Midsomer Murders, Jolly old Blighty has been exposed as a demented and fatally-wounded former bully for years: her ideological flotsam now pollutes our shores solely via the right-wing media, NACT, and the bulk of right-wing bloggers.

      Anglo-domination ended years ago, and a wondrous world awaitens us: we’re witnessing the last, disgusting, grasping, gasp of the Fat White Male.

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    3 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Getting people into jobs
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    3 weeks ago
  • Coalition commitment establishing Mental Health Commission delivered
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  • Whakatāne gets a $2.5m ‘turbo boost’
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  • Another Green win as climate change considerations inserted into the RMA
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    3 weeks ago
  • New Navy vessel Aotearoa to arrive in New Zealand
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  • Racing Industry Bill passes third reading
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    3 weeks ago

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    22 hours ago
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    23 hours ago
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    2 days ago
  • Hawke’s Bay Airport agreement protects jobs, safeguards terminal development
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    2 days ago
  • Funding boost for four cultural events
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  • Inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week
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    4 days ago
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    4 days ago
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    4 days ago
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    5 days ago
  • Supporting victims and families to attend mosque attack sentencing
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    5 days ago
  • More support for women and girls
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  • Crown accounts stronger than forecast with higher consumer spending
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    5 days ago
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  • Funding for Predator Free Whangārei
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    5 days ago
  • New Zealand to review relationship settings with Hong Kong
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    6 days ago
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    6 days ago
  • Funding for Kaipara district community waste programmes
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    6 days ago
  • Government will support the people and economy of Southland
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  • New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort
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    6 days ago
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    6 days ago
  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
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    7 days ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
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    7 days ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
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    7 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
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    7 days ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
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    7 days ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
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    7 days ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
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    7 days ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
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    1 week ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
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    1 week ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
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  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
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    1 week ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
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    1 week ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
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    1 week ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
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    1 week ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
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    1 week ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
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    1 week ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
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    1 week ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
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    1 week ago