19 Oct 2017

Party leaders in the dark too on govt announcement

11:29 pm on 19 October 2017

New Zealand's new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern didn't know until Winston Peters made his coalition decision public that her party had been chosen.

Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters

Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters Photo: RNZ / AFP

The New Zealand First leader, who held the balance of power, announced his decision to go into a coalition with Labour shortly before 7pm at the Beehive.

He said gave the news conference only about 15 minutes after his party had reached its decision.

Check out a recap of how we got here, find out what you need to know, and look back on RNZ's live coverage

"This decision is owed first to the New Zealand people, to all the people who have put us here: Not politicians, the New Zealand voters.

"We heard and we've read many comments about poverty ... and a concertina-ing [concentrating] of wealth in fewer and fewer hands. We wish to address that issue."

He said it was "not an old-fashioned sentiment".

"We did it hugely in past decades in our great history and we want to be part of doing it again."

The Greens had a confidence and supply agreement with the Labour party, he said.

"We have a coalition agreement with the Labour Party. We're in coalition with the Labour Party, they [the Greens] are outside the government in support of it.

"We're going to start off and do this right.

"We're operating in an MMP environment, and today the majority view of this country is for the change that's happened."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs