New Zealand PM Luxon to have a job-share deputy

Ben McKay |

New Zealand’s deputy prime ministership will be job-shared among two leaders in Chris Luxon’s coalition government between the National, ACT and NZ First parties.

In an odd tweak to convention, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters will be Mr Luxon’s deputy for the first half of the term, with ACT leader David Seymour taking over the job in June 2025.

On Friday, Mr Luxon signed coalition deals with Mr Seymour and Mr Peters to formalise their governing arrangement for the next three years and unveil his first cabinet.

Mr Peters will reprise his position as foreign minister, a job he has held twice before, while former National leader Judith Collins will become defence minister and attorney-general.

National deputy leader Nicola Willis will be finance minister, while Mr Seymour will hold the new position of regulation minister.

National will hold 14 cabinet posts, with three each from ACT and NZ First.

The three parties of the right won a mandate from voters at last month’s election to end six years of Labour-led governments.

Incoming New Zealand prime minister Chris Luxon has announced the lineup of his new government. (Mark Coote/AAP PHOTOS)

In the six weeks since the poll, party leaders have shuttled between Auckland hotel conference rooms, their private homes and the halls of Wellington’s Parliament House to negotiate on policies and positions.

Mr Luxon beamed as he arrived in the Banquet Hall of Wellington’s Beehive to announce the two deals, one between National and ACT, and the other between National and NZ First.

“It’s exciting to be on the cusp of delivering a big policy program with two coalition partners who, alongside National, are determined to make New Zealanders’ lives better,” he said.

He said the deals would “support the major elements of National’s policy program” with “some adjustments”.

One of those tweaks is the axing of National’s proposed foreign homebuyers tax, a core plank of its alternative budget which was pilloried during the campaign.

Under the terms of the deals, all three parties are obliged to support each others’ initiatives, which run into the hundreds.

The National-ACT agreement includes pledges to scrap Labour’s industrial relations reforms by Christmas, ease immigration pathways, and reverse the ban on live animal exports.

National and NZ First promise to toughen sentences for criminals, scrap gender and sexuality education guidelines, keep the superannuation age at 65, and to make English an official language.

The government will be made official on Monday, when cabinet ministers visit Government House in Wellington to receive their commissions from Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro.

Incoming ministers will spend the weekend moving into their offices, with parliament set to meet first on December 5.

Mr Luxon has promised a short holiday break between sitting weeks before parliament starts up early in the new year.

The coalition negotiations have given Kiwis their first taste of Mr Luxon’s relentless and corporate leadership style.

The former Air New Zealand chief executive followed a meticulous process for the talks, going through each party’s election promises and policy manifestos.

“I’ve been really disciplined about following that process,” he said, outlining the four steps he followed.

“Establish relationships first. Agree a policy program. Agree a process mechanism for any disputes or any tensions that may arise, and make sure we get the right people in the right place.

“It’s been a very disciplined way of going through and locking each of those component parts in place.”

The wait for a government was beginning to tire Kiwis, with a poll showing 66 per cent believed the negotiations were taking too long.

“Thank you for your patience,” Mr Luxon said.

Mr Peters said talks were “seriously long, difficult and complicated” and “we expected nothing less because that’s the nature of life”.

Mr Seymour said his party would “grasp the opportunity with both hands to do good for all New Zealanders”.

Outgoing prime minister Chris Hipkins took a shot at the deputy job-sharing arrangement, calling it “bizarre”.

“It’s now not just a question of whether Winston Peters and David Seymour will run rings about Christopher Luxon, but how many,” he said.