Labour-NZ First government: what you need to know


The Labour-led Coalition Government with New Zealand First and the Greens

Source: RNZI

New Zealand has a new Labour-led government in a coalition with New Zealand First – ending nine years of National governments.

New Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will head the Labour-New Zealand First government, supported by the Greens.

Ms Ardern and Green Party leader James Shaw said they are certain the new government will last the full term.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, speaking shortly before 7pm on Thursday, said it had secured policies to advance economic positions and he wanted to address poverty.

“That’s why in the end we chose a coalition government of New Zealand First with the New Zealand Labour party.”

“Our choice today relates to how best we mitigate, not worsen, the effects on New Zealanders,” Mr Peters said in his opening remarks before he had the announcement.

“Far too many New Zealanders have come today to view today’s capitalism not as their friend but as their foe, and I have to say they are not all wrong.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters arriving for the announcement. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

“This is a decision made by New Zealand First and it’s their decision, not that of their leader.

“Our perception was that the majority of people in this country did want change. We have responded to that.

“In the end we chose a coalition government of New Zealand First and the New Zealand Labour Party.”

He said there was enough agreement in the party’s board and caucus for him to be confident that there was a consensus.

A specific role for himself had yet to be decided, he said.

“If I choose to be the deputy Prime Minister then that was made clear to me, and if I choose to take portfolios then that will be discussed with the Prime Minister and that’s all I want to say.”

Former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark

Former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clarke has praised Arden’s performance as extraordinary.

She said good faith will be critical to the success of the new Labour-New Zealand First government, former Prime Minister Helen Clark says.

Miss Clark, who is travelling in Europe, said she was able to listen in live to Winston Peters’ press conference yesterday afternoon when he announced that his party would go into coalition with Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party.

She told RNZ’s Morning Report she was “hardly daring to hope” that Labour would be able to form a government.

“Full congratulations to Jacinda, who in just a few weeks took the Labour Party from despair to this very, very exciting outcome of negotiations.”

Watch full interviews with Jacinda Ardern and James Shaw and check RNZ’s live coverage [ here.

  • The new prime minister, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, will be New Zealand’s second youngest leader.
  • Labour will hold a caucus meeting today to elect a Cabinet.
  • Jacinda Ardern told Morning Report Labour’s plan for its first 100 days in government had remained largely intact with a few minor changes”].
  • Ms Ardern would not confirm ahead of releasing the agreements whether a water tax remained on the table.
  • Details of support agreements with New Zealand First and the Greens would be released early next week.
  • The Green Party has ratified the deal offered by Labour and will get three ministers outside Cabinet and one undersecretary.
  • Green Party leader James Shaw said the ministerial responsibilities will relate to climate change, restoring forests and rivers and ending poverty.
  • Winston Peters has been offered the deputy prime minister role.
  • NZ First will have four ministerial portfolios and one under-secretary position
  • The government was announced shortly before 7pm on Thursday, a coalition of Labour and New Zealand First – ending nine years of National governments.
  • Mr Peters said the government was a coalition between New Zealand First and Labour, which – in turn – has a confidence and supply arrangement with the Greens.
  • Negotiations to form the next government began on Sunday 8 October, a day after the official election results were released.
  • The final results gave National 56 seats, down two on election night, while Labour and the Greens combined had 54 MPs, up two.