Helen Clark says the democratic process has worked, it's time to respect the result
Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has told Kiwis to respect the viewpoints of others, even if the election outcome wasn't what they hoped for.
Clark was head of Labour governments from 1999 to 2008, before taking a job as head of the United Nations Development Programme.
Following the election, Clark said: "The people have spoken, and the result must be respected".
"Some will be elated; others won't," she said on social media.
It was now time for the parties to talk - "that's MMP in action. Stay tuned!"
Clark said it was important to respect others people's views at this time.
"There has been a lot of nasty stuff - including on this page. Elections bring out the worst in some people...
"Feelings run high at such a time; but respect for each others' views is important."
Clark said this wasn't the result many wanted, but it had to be respected, "and those who want a different future need to work on persuading more to support that".
Politics was about the "power of persistence", adding that there was a collective responsibility for the result.
When asked on social media whether she would return to the Labour Party to help, she said it was up to the next generation to step up.
Clark said Labour leader Jacinda Ardern ran a strong campaign and should "stick at it".
The former PM has experience in coalition talks, including during 1996 when she was unable to form a government with Winston Peters' NZ First, after nine weeks of coalition talks.
"As in 1996, Labour must endeavour to negotiate to form a government," she said.
However, Clark would not speculate as to how the negotiations would play out, only saying she was "very familiar with what goes on".
She did say she did not expect negotiations to take nine weeks like they had back in 1996.
Clark said Labour was still in the running to forming a government, and no matter what the outcome, there would be a strong Opposition party.
"At the least, the election has delivered a strong Opposition - whichever way government formation goes. That's a good thing in itself."
Clark, who posted to social media ahead of September 23 reminding people to enrol and vote, said voter turnout was still an issue.
"Estimates now are at 78.8 per cent turnout of those enrolled — but how many were not enrolled.... Sad that, in an election where choices were so clear, more people didn't participate."
Low voter turnout was not good for democracy, she added.
While the most likely coalition scenarios were National-NZ First, or Labour-NZ First-Greens, there had been public speculation about whether a grand coalition would be possible.
A grand coalition was when the two major parties formed a government. This has only been done in New Zealand in times of crisis.
Clark said she didn't think this approach would work for New Zealand.
"Both major parties have a large vote and each is a viable contender to form a government."
Clark wasn't in New Zealand for the election. Instead she was watching the action from New York.
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