New Zealand’s National Party reaches deal to form government

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FILE PHOTO: Christopher Luxon, leader of New Zealand’s National Party waves to supporters at his election party after winning the general election in Auckland, New Zealand, October 14, 2023. REUTERS/David Rowland//File Photo/File Photo

Wellington (Reuters) – New Zealand’s National Party has reached an agreement with ACT New Zealand and New Zealand First to form a government, and the final signoff could be done later on Thursday, the leaders said.

The conservative National Party won the largest share of votes in New Zealand’s Oct. 14 general election but needed the support of both right-wing ACT New Zealand and the populist New Zealand First Parties to form a majority government.

“Subject to agreement by all parties, a signing ceremony will take place tomorrow at Parliament,” the joint statement by incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, ACT’s David Seymour and New Zealand First’s Winston Peters said.

The statement did not include details of any ministerial appointments or the incoming government’s policy priorities.

New Zealand operates a mixed member proportional system, which means coalition governments are the norm and historically it takes roughly a month for a government to be formed but can take longer.

Currently, the government is being operated by the former Labour government, which is operating in caretaker mode.