NZ First gets four posts in Cabinet and one undersecretary as Jacinda Ardern leads new coalition government

Source: 1News

Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand First will have four cabinet positions and one parliamentary undersecretary role in the new Labour-New Zealand First coalition government.

The Green Party will take up ministerial positions, and Winston Peters has been offered the position of deputy Prime Minister.

Mr Peters is yet to decide, and the Greens need to take the proposal to their delegates. 

Ms Ardern says it's her intenrtion over the next 24 hours that "we will conclude the final remaining areas of our agreement that need to be completed for both respective parties".

She said Labour will hold a caucus meeting tomorrow afternoon to have an election for cabinet positions for Labour members.

"Early next week we will be in a position to sign and release the agreements that Labour has negotiated both with New Zealand First and with the Green Party," she said.

"Later in the week we will confirm and release ministerial portfolios more broadly and a swearing in ceremony will take place."

In her first remarks since tonight's announcement of the coalition by NZ First leader Winston Peters, she said it is an absolute honour and a privilege to have the ability as the leader of the Labour Party to form a government for all New Zealanders.

"I also want to say that this has been a campaign that has been robust and rigorous and I want to thank Bill  English for the role that he has played in that campaign but also as prime minister and as serving in the past as New Zealand's finance minister," she said.

Labour and New Zealand First are both committed to forming a strong and durable government that can deal with the many challenges the country faces, Ms Ardern said.

Mr Peters announced at Parliament tonight that the party has chosen a coalition government of NZ First and the Labour Party, putting Labour back in power after nine years in opposition.

Ms Ardern says Labour is pleased to have successfully concluded negotiations with New Zealand First as a critical step to forming a Labour-led progressive Government.

"I thank the New Zealand First Party and Leader Winston Peters for agreeing in principle to a coalition arrangement with Labour," she said. 

“The negotiations have been courteous, constructive and robust. Throughout, we have focused on our shared values and the policies that can take New Zealand forward.

"We are both committed to forming a strong and durable government that can deal with the many challenges this country faces."

Ms Ardern said: The Green Party is now undertaking its internal approval process before we confirm final arrangements to form a Labour-led progressive Government. This too has been an excellent process, which I thank James Shaw and his team for."

This is an exciting day, Ms Ardern said. 

"We aspire to be a government for all New Zealanders and one that will seize the opportunity to build a fairer, better New Zealand.

"We will work hard to ensure New Zealand is once again a world leader, a country we can all be proud of. We said we could do this, we will do this."

She thanked Bill English and acknowledged the service he has given to this country as Prime Minister, and for a hard fought campaign.  

"We both share a commitment to making New Zealand a better place and Bill has left his mark," Ms Ardern said.

As Mr Peters made the announcement there were hugs, tears and cheers in Labour's room at Parliament, welcoming news that the party will return to government, in coalition with New Zealand First.