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NZ ruling party registers strong start as election counting begins

Praveen Menon

By Praveen Menon

WELLINGTON, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party held a commanding lead in New Zealand's general election on Saturday, very early tallies showed.

Labour had 50% of the votes, to 26% for the opposition National Party led by conservative leader Judith Collins, with 1.5% of ballots tallied, according to the Electoral Commission.

Of Labour's current coalition partners, the nationalist New Zealand First Party had 2.2% and the Green Party 8.8%. (Reporting by Praveen Menon)