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National Party, ACT and United Future coalition wins in NZ

A coalition consisting of the National Party, ACT and United Future wins a majority of seats in the Parliament of New Zealand.

The general election was held in New Zealand on 8 November 2008 to determine the composition of the 49th New Zealand Parliament, and thus the makeup of the government of New Zealand for the three years to 2011. The centre-right National Party, under leader John Key, won a plurality of votes and seats, and will form a majority government in coalition with smaller parties.

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On this day September 19, 1893

New Zealand became the first country to introduce universal suffrage, following the women’s suffrage movement led by Kate Sheppard.

Katherine Wilson Sheppard (10 March 1847 or 1848– 13 July 1934) was the most prominent member of New Zealand’s women’s suffrage movement, and is the country’s most famous suffragette. Because New Zealand was the first country to introduce universal suffrage, Sheppard’s work had a considerable impact on women’s suffrage movements in other countries. Read More…

On this day July 10, 1985

Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior is bombed and sunk in Auckland, New Zealand Harbor by French DGSE agents.

The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, codenamed Operation Satanic, was an operation by the “action” branch of the French foreign intelligence services, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE), carried out on July 10, 1985. It aimed to sink the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet, to prevent her from interfering in a nuclear test in Moruroa.

Fernando Pereira, a photographer, drowned on the sinking ship. Two French agents were arrested by the New Zealand Police on passport fraud and immigration charges. They were charged with arson, conspiracy to commit arson, willful damage, and murder. As part of a plea bargain, they pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to ten years, of which they served just over two.

Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour after bombing

Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour after bombing

The scandal resulted in the resignation of the French Defence Minister Charles Hernu, and the subject remained controversial. It was twenty years afterwards that the personal responsibility of French President François Mitterrand was admitted.

Operation Satanic was a public relations disaster. New Zealand was an ally of France. France initially denied involvement and joined in condemnation of a terrorist act. Read More…