27 Aug 2023

'Instability and chaos' - Labour rules out a partnership with NZ First

4:42 pm on 27 August 2023

Labour leader Chris Hipkins has ruled out New Zealand First as a possible coalition partner after this year's election, saying Winston Peters and his party would cause "instability and chaos".

Labour leader Chris Hipkins confirmed the decision at a media conference today.

"New Zealand First has become a party more interested in toilets than the issues that matter most to New Zealanders," said Hipkins.

Labour could work with the Green Party and with Te Pāti Māori, Hipkins said.

Watch the announcement here:

New Zealand First had already ruled out working with Labour.

Hipkins said the rhetoric he was hearing from Peters this election "means I just don't see any compatibility with my vision for an inclusive, progressive and prosperous society".

"Winston Peters and NZ First are a force for instability and chaos and that's the last thing New Zealand needs at the moment."

He described a National Party, ACT and NZ First coalition as one of "cuts, chaos and confusion" that holds views he thought would alienate large sections of New Zealand society - not just economically, but people's sense of belonging.

Peters was "seeking to make trans people the enemy in this campaign", Hipkins said.

"Living fully in your own skin isn't always easy for any of us at the best of times but it can be particularly hard for our rainbow communities. None of them deserve the kind of abuse that's been directed their way, stoked up by politicians who should know better.

"I have news for all those who try to divide us and take us backwards - you will ultimately fail, because Kiwis have always regarded unity as more important than division."

Hipkins said he would continue to defend "a women's right to choose" and said many National MPs and candidates wanted to roll back women's rights.

"Members of their caucus celebrated the US Supreme Court decision to roll back a women's right to choose."

He said he backed initiatives like the Māori Health Authority and described David Seymour's comments about the Pacific community as "chilling".

Seymour had said the comments were a joke, Hipkins said: "I don't think it's a laughing matter."

Hipkins said he had considered which party's values and policies aligned with his own and those of the Labour Party.

"Kiwis deserve to know who they're voting for, what their bottom lines are and what kind of government they could get after the election."

Policy disagreements, in his experience, could be overcome if you had shared goals and values, he said.

Hipkins intended to promote a message of unity this election campaign and said he wanted to work with parties and leaders who want to do the same.

This did not mean he would not criticise his opponents, he said.

"But in doing so I will not be seeking to divide New Zealand communities. Labour's focus in this election won't be on imported culture wars, but fighting an economic war against inflation and inequality."

Bread and butter issues were always about helping families and communities to get ahead, he said.

"And I mean every member of our community and every member of our families."

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