Weeks of stalemate and waiting for a government in New Zealand ended today when the NZ First party’s Leader, Winston Party announced his party’s much-awaited decision to support the Labour party coalition.
This has paved the way for Labour Party’s leader, Jacinda Arden to be the New Zealand’s next PM.
Jacinda,37, will be this country’s third female Prime Minister – after National’s Jenny Shipley and Labour’s, Helen Clark.
She will also be assuming the Prime Minister’s office just two-and-a-half months after becoming leader of the Labour Party.
In a statement released to the media immediately after Winston’s announcement to support Labour, PM-elect,Jacinda Arden said, “This is an exciting day. 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.
“I thank Bill English and acknowledge 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,” says Jacinda Ardern.
This also ends the nine-year rule of the National Party that was seeking a fourth successive term in Parliament. It will now be relegated to the opposition benches.
Election of 23 September had left National with 56 seats, Labour with 46, NZ First on nine, the Green Party on eight and ACT with one seat.
As neither National or Labour party attained majority votes, it was left to the NZ First Party to negotiate and decide whom to support. They both required support from Peters’ New Zealand First (NZF) to pass the 61 seats needed for a win, giving it a decisive role in the election even though it only won seven per cent of the vote,and only 9 seats.
With the Green party also supporting Labour, it gives the combined parties 63 seats, two more than the 61 majority they need.
It is also the first time the party without the highest share of the vote would be forming the Government in New Zealand.
Though full details of the coalition are yet to be known, but it has been confirmed that four places in the cabinet will go to NZ First MPs while they will also have a parliamentary undersecretary.
Winston Peters has reportedly been offered the role of Dy.PM.
This is not the first time that Winston Peters had emerged in this powerful position of the ‘king-maker’ – this time,however, a ‘queen-maker’ helping Jacinda become PM.
Twice earlier also, he wielded power to make the government. He opted for National in 1996 in return for being made Dy PM and in 2005, he supported Labour after it agreed to make him Foreign Minister.