The coalition negotiations are now complete and the deal between National, ACT, and New Zealand First was formally signed on Friday. We knew that Christopher Luxon will be Prime Minister, but we now know that Winston Peters, leader of New Zealand First, will be Deputy Prime Minister for the first half of the parliamentary term, and David Seymour, leader of ACT, will be Deputy Prime Minister for the second half. A parliamentary term is 3 years so they will each be in the role for 18 months.
The new government’s policies are now public. Some policies of each party have been altered slightly in order to reach agreement between the three parties. National’s tax cuts will go ahead in 2024 but the tax on foreign buyers of expensive houses will not. This means that money will need to be saved in other areas of the budget. The new Finance Minister has confirmed that one saving will come from the new smokefree laws being scrapped, but some public health experts are shocked at this news. ACT wanted a referendum on the Treaty of Waitangi but instead the new government will support a Treaty Principles bill to Select Committee. That means Parliament will discuss the Treaty and the public will be able to make submissions.
Other key parts of the new government’s plan include government departments reducing staff numbers, reviewing the firearms laws, and switching the Fees Free scheme for tertiary level study from the first year free to the final year. A Regional Infrastructure Fund, proposed by New Zealand First, will have $1.2 billion in capital funding.
The new government will be sworn in by the Governor-General, Dame Cindy Kiro. The Governor General represents the King. The swearing-in ceremony will take place at Government House in Wellington sometime this week.
Note: the swearing-in ceremony took place on Monday 27 November. You can watch it on YouTube below. The ceremony starts at about 13 minutes from the start of the recording.
to scrap – to decide not to use a plan or system, or to get rid of something
referendum – when people vote to make a decision about something
Select Committee – a small group of Members of Parliament who are responsible for looking at a particular area of government activity.
make a submission (to a Select Committee) – give an opinion and recommendation on a bill
capital funding – money for spending on large projects