WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s National Party leader downplayed on Wednesday the possibility that a right-wing political ally would refuse to support his government should his party win next month’s election as expected.
New Zealand is due to elect a new government on Oct. 14, and the centre-right National Party is currently leading the polls but is unlikely to be able to govern without the support of at least one smaller party.
Historically, it has joined forces with the right-wing ACT party, however, the ACT said this week it might just sign a “confidence agreement” with the National Party, meaning National would have to gain its support to pass bills and the budget on a case by case basis.
“It’s just not going to happen,” National leader Christopher Luxon told the AM Show on television on Wednesday. “David Seymour and I have a good relationship,” he said, referring to ACT’s leader.
In an email, Seymour told Reuters that while a coalition with National was the party’s preferred option, it would choose the confidence arrangement if National does not agree to some of its demands.
“It is a way of making sure that the change of Government brings a new Government of real change, and voters get the change they’ve voted for,” Seymour said.
While ACT and National share common ground, National has ruled out a number of ACT policies including abolishing the Carbon Zero Act, the partial sale of state owned enterprises and abolishing first home grants.
ACT’s proposal would give it more control over policy, but it could also force the National Party to seek out other partners, political commentator Bryce Edwards said.
“People just assume that it’s going to be a National-ACT government. If New Zealand First gets in, and I think they will, National will definitely consider a coalition involving New Zealand First,” Edwards added.
(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; editing by Miral Fahmy)
Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.