24 Oct 2017

Labour-New Zealand First deal: the nitty gritty

5:52 pm on 24 October 2017

Labour and New Zealand First have signed their coalition agreement, which contains significant policy gains for New Zealand First.

Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters signing the coalition agreement.

Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters signing the coalition agreement. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The policy wins for New Zealand First include keeping the age of superannuation at 65, re-establishing a forestry service, and committing to re-entering Pike River Mine.

The deal also contains a strong focus on regional development. The new government will establish a $1bn annual regional development fund, which will include "significant investment" in rail.

The re-established New Zealand Forestry Service will also be based in the regions.

Read the full agreement here.

Incoming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the deal represented a huge step change for the government, with regional development and job creation a priority.

"There has been a period of neglect in the last nine years for our regions," she said.

"New Zealand First has brought enormous advocacy at the negotiating table to make sure that we see the beginnings of the re-investment that is much needed in New Zealand."

Other priorities included housing, health, education, the environment and an increase in the minimum wage, Ms Ardern said.

The policies outlined in the agreement fit within Labour's budget responsibility rules it set prior to the election campaign, she said.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters' campaign push to shift Auckland's port to Northland appears to be on the backburner - the deal contained an agreement simply to look at the feasibility of moving the port elsewhere.

However, the agreement stated that Northland would be given serious consideration in any study.

Mr Peters said he was happy with the deal New Zealand First had made.

"We were never going to get everything we wanted... Politics has been always an issue of compromise, but principles as well, and we have got a balance on both that our team in New Zealand First is entirely happy with, and we're grateful to the Labour Part for understanding that and reaching the agreement we've got."

Here's what's in the deal:

Regional economic development and primary industries

*A $1bn annual Regional Development (Provincial Growth) Fund, which will include significant investment in regional rail and commissioning a feasibility study on the options for moving the Ports of Auckland, including giving Northport in Whangarei serious consideration.

*Re-establishing the New Zealand Forestry Service, to be located in regional New Zealand.

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Photo: 123rf


*Review and reform of the Reserve Bank Act.

*Progressively increase the minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2020.

*Increase penalties for corporate fraud and tax evasion.

*Strengthen the Overseas Investment Act and undertake a comprehensive register of foreign-owned land and housing.


*Re-establish the Mental Health Commission.

*Annual free health check for seniors, including an eye check, as part of the SuperGold Card.

*Free doctors' visits for all under-14s.

*Progressively increase the age for free breast screening to 74.


*Establish a Housing Commission.

*Policies to stop non-resident foreigners from buying houses in New Zealand.

Law and Order

*Strive towards adding 1800 new police officers over three years and commit to a serious focus on combatting organised crime and drugs.

*Establish a Criminal Cases Review Commission.


*Introduce a new generation SuperGold smartcard containing entitlements and concessions.

*Superannuation eligibility to remain at 65.


*The government's vehicle fleet, where practicable, to become emissions-free by 2025/26.

*Introduce a Zero Carbon Act and an independent Climate Commission, based on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

*If the Climate Commission determines that agriculture is to be included in the ETS, then upon entry, the free allocation to agriculture will be 95 percent but with all revenues from this source recycled back into agriculture in order to encourage agricultural innovation, mitigation and additional planting of forestry.

*No resource rentals for water in this term of Parliament.

*Introduce a royalty on exports of bottled water.

*Work with Māori and other quota holders to resolve outstanding issues in the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill in a way that is satisfactory to both Labour and New Zealand First.


*Independent review of the integrity of electoral processes and enrolments.

*Review the processes of Parliament to reflect an MMP environment.

*Introduce and pass a 'Waka Jumping' Bill.


*As per Labour's policy, pursue Labour and New Zealand First's shared priorities to ensure work visas issued reflect genuine skills shortages and cut down on low quality international education courses.

*Take serious action on migrant exploitation, particularly of international students.


*Commit to re-entry to Pike River.

*Hold a full-scale review into retail power pricing.

*Allow a conscience vote for MPs on New Zealand First's Supplementary Order Paper to the End of Life Choice Bill, which provides for a referendum.

*Work towards a Free Trade Agreement with the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union and initiate Closer Commonwealth Economic Relations.