Jacinda Ardern is NZ's new Prime Minister

News 19/10/2017

Shout outs to Newshub for this article

NZ First leader Winston Peters has announced he will form a Government with Labour. 

But the Greens appear not to be part of the coaltion Government and will instead hold a confidence and supply agreement. 

Speaking in the Beehive Theatrette on Thursday evening, Mr Peters said siding with National would have meant a "modified status quo", versus "change" with Labour.

Mr Peters said the coalition was the "decision of the New Zealand people" and that the call was one from NZ First, rather than his sole decision - and it was only decided 15 minutes before his press conference.

"This decision is owed to the New Zealand people, who put us here. Not to the politicians, but to the New Zealand voters."

He refused to confirm what his position in the Government might be.

While reports have suggested that Mr Peters and Greens leader James Shaw do not get on, the NZ First leader denied this was a factor in his decison. 

"Some of you say that I hate the Greens and I hate James Shaw and I can tell you, I have never said that either privately or publicly," he said.

The long-serving MP said his party would not have partnered with Labour if it did not believe in Jacinda Ardern's ability to be Prime Minister.

"We wouldn't have made the decision if we didn't," he said. 

Economic fears

Mr Peters said they believed there was a high chance of an economic slow-down and that capitalism needed to "regain its human face".

He said he wanted to address this scenario head-on, so people couldn't blame NZ First for any economic crash.

As expected, Mr Peters indicated that regional New Zealand was central to NZ First policy making.

"Protecting the regions is at the forefront of our thinking."

Bottom lines

Mr Peters notably campaigned on a number of "bottom lines" - policies he claimed he wouldn't compromise on and which any party looking to form a Government with him would have to adopt.

One of those was a referendum on the abolition of Māori seats.

But Mr Peters said he didn't get enough votes to push that policy home and it was "now in the hands of the Labour party".

During the election, Labour swept all of the Māori seats.

Joy and jubilation

On Labour's floor, there was a cry of jubilation as members watched Mr Peters make his announcement.

"In the last 10 years I have never heard sounds like that on Labour's floor," Newshub's Lloyd Burr said.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern's next step is to approach Dame Patsy Reid to ask if she can form a Government. 

The Opposition

ACT leader David Seymour said New Zealand was now "threatened by a madman on the loose".

"Winston Peters' peverse marriage with Labour and the Greens threatens countless groups: taxpayers, Auckland infrastructure users, millennials, immigrants and the businesses relying on them," he said.

"If this coalition governs as it campaigned, then New Zealanders face a big-spending, tax-everything-that-moves, 1970s-protectionist, red-tape-loving Government."