The new government

The new coalition government, led by Jacinda Ardern, does not become the official government until it has been sworn in by the Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy. This will probably happen on Wednesday. The Governor-General represents the Queen. The ceremony will take place at Government House in Wellington. The Governor-General will ask Ms Ardern if she can form a government. If she replies, “Yes”, then she takes an oath which means that she swears (or promises) to serve the people of New Zealand as Prime Minister.

All the Cabinet Ministers will also be sworn in. Labour will have 16 Cabinet Ministers who will have jobs like Justice, Immigration, Transport, and so on. New Zealand First will have 4 Cabinet Ministers and one Under-secretary, and the Greens will have 3 Ministers, who will not be part of Cabinet, and one Under-secretary. An under-secretary usually focuses on a special project with a minister. Cabinet Ministers are senior Ministers and they meet together with the Prime Minister to discuss policy.

The coalition government will be a partnership between Labour and New Zealand First with support from the Greens. This support is called “confidence and supply” and means they will vote with the government or abstain on matters of finance (“supply”) and any other important matters.

Meanwhile Ms Ardern is busy deciding who will be Cabinet Ministers. She will also give us a plan of what the new government hopes to do in the first 100 days. One possibility which she has already suggested could be free fees for first year students. However, Parliament may not start again until late November and it finishes for the year in mid-December. The summer break is similar to the school summer break so 100 days is probably the end of April.

While many of us are enjoying a Labour Weekend holiday, the new government is probably very busy making plans.

Vocabulary

• swear (an oath) – make a serious promise (swear, swore, sworn)
• abstain (v) – don’t record a vote, not “yes” or “no”






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