New Zealand’s new government sworn in, parliament expected to open next week

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

Wellington (Reuters) – New Zealand’s new right-of-centre government was sworn in on Monday, with parliament expected to sit next week and begin working on new policies including a new central bank mandate and lifting a ban on oil and gas exploration.

New Zealand Governor General Cindy Kiro, who represents British monarch King Charles III as head of state, swore National Party leader Christopher Luxon in as New Zealand’s 42nd prime minister along with ministers of his cabinet at Government House in Wellington.

Centre-right National signed coalition agreements with libertarian ACT New Zealand and populist New Zealand First on Friday allowing the three parties to form a government, bringing an end to six years of left-wing governments in New Zealand.

Former airline executive Luxon told TVNZ’s 1News he was excited about taking on the role of prime minister.

“We’ve got the team, we’ve got the ideas, we’ve got a clear policy program for the next three years,” he said.

The incoming government’s coalition agreements, released Friday, outlined a number of policy plans including a single mandate for the country’s central bank, a plan to roll back the use of Maori language and an end to a ban on oil and gas exploration.

The New Zealand Green Party on Monday launched a petition to keep the ban on oil and gas exploration.

“We ask everyone to stand with us to tell this government that the oil and gas ban has to stay,” Green Party co-leader James Shaw said in a statement.

The Green Party has said they will re-introduce a ban on new sources of fossil fuels when they return to government.