Despite having the numbers to govern alone, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has opted to make a deal with the Green Party to form the country’s next government.
Ardern’s Labour Party finished with about 50 per cent of the vote in the mid-October general election.
If the results are confirmed on November 6, Labour would hold 64 seats in the 120-seat parliament, enough to govern alone.
However, the Labour Party and the Greens had come to a “co-operation agreement,” Ardern said in a statement on Saturday.
“Labour won a clear mandate to form a majority government on our own to accelerate our recovery from Covid-19. This agreement respects the mandate voters provided Labour while continuing our cooperative work with the Green Party in areas where they add expertise to build as strong a consensus as possible.”
The agreement would ensure Labour would “govern for all of New Zealand and continue to build as much consensus as possible,” Ardern said.
“We showed in the last government we can work well with the Green Party. On environmental and well-being issues there is much we agree on that is good for New Zealand and I want to draw on our shared goals and expertise to keep moving forward with that work.”
Under the agreement, the Green Party co-leaders will get ministries outside of cabinet.
Marama Davidson would be minister for prevention of family and sexual violence, while James Shaw would retain his minister of climate change role.
The parties would work together on child poverty, climate change, and the environment, providing the Labour government with extra stability in the House.
The Greens would support Labour in confidence and supply matters, as it already does.
“New Zealanders voted us in to be a productive partner to Labour to ensure we go further and faster on the issues that matter. We will make sure that happens this term,” Davidson said in a statement.
Shaw said the Greens were “very happy” to have secured areas of cooperation in achieving the goals of the Zero Carbon Act, protecting nature, and improving child wellbeing.
“We have a larger caucus this term who are ready to play a constructive role achieving bold action in these areas,” he said in a statement.
“In the areas of climate change, looking after our natural environment and addressing inequality, there’s no time to waste.”
Labour is the first party to win an outright majority since the country introduced its current parliamentary system, known as mixed-member proportional representation, in 1996.