The New Zealand National Party secured an agreement on a three-party coalition government on Friday.
The Nationals, headed up by incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, are back in power along with the New Zealand First party and libertarian ACT New Zealand, following six years of rule led by the Labour Party, Reuters reports.
The coalition agreement brought an end to almost six weeks of intense talks following last month’s general election.
“We believe in this country, we are ambitious for it, and we know that with the right leadership, the right policies, and the right direction, together we New Zealanders can make this an even better country,” Luxon said during a speech before the formal signing of the agreement at parliament.
The leaders agreed to change the Reserve Bank’s mandate to solely focus on maintaining low inflation, as opposed to its current dual mandate to keep inflation low whilst sustaining maximum employment, AP News reports.
The agreement also outlines plans to roll back the Maori language use, and according to the country’s outgoing Labour Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, the policy changes would reverse the progress on Maori issues.
“This is certainly going backwards by three or four decades,” he stated.
Furthermore, the coalition government will slash personal income taxes as part of a policy used to appeal to middle-income voters struggling with the cost of living.
Nevertheless, plans to open up the country’s housing market to foreigners and tax these purchases to fund the tax cuts have been dropped, the Reuters report adds.
“Delivering tax relief is just one part of the government’s plan to rebuild the economy. The government will ease the cost of living, reduce wasteful spending, and lift economic growth to increase opportunities and prosperity for all New Zealanders,” Luxon said. “Our government will restore law and order and personal responsibility so that Kiwis are safer in their own communities,” he added.
The new coalition cabinet is due to be sworn in on Monday, with the deputy prime minister role divided between NZ First leader Winston Peters and ACT leader David Seymour, whilst National Party deputy leader Nicola Willis will be finance minister and Peters will be foreign minister, it has been announced.
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