Jacinda Ardern pregnancy: Winston Peters gets his chance as Prime Minister

  • 19/01/2018

New Zealand First Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will be thrust into the top position after Jacinda Ardern announced she's pregnant.

Mr Peters will step in as acting Prime Minister for six weeks while Ms Ardern takes leave when the baby is expected in June. However the prospect is concerning for many New Zealanders.

Ms Ardern says she found out her pregancy on October 13, during coalition talks with Winston Peters - and it played on her mind during the negotiations.

"People will probably look at the timing," she says. She then told Mr Peters before making her public pregnancy announcement.

Mr Peters has had previous chances of sitting in the hot seat - but says he passed them up.

"You won't believe this but a long time ago, I could've been the Prime Minister if I was prepared to suck up to the right-wing ideology for the National Party in 1989, 1990," he told Three's The Project in 2017.

And Audrey Young wrote in NZME last year that Mr Peters asked for the role of Prime Minister during negotiations with both National and Labour for at least part of the term.

Mr Peters has had a turbulent political career. He was sacked from Cabinet in 1998 and stripped of his Ministerial posts in 2008 after an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office over party donations.

The thought of Mr Peters has sparked concern on social media over Mr Peter's trustworthiness and his ability to manage our future.

"No wonder Winnie picked Labour. He knew something we didn't and it's helped him get to the acting PM role with 92.5 percent of the electorate choosing not to vote for him. Amazing result for Winnie!" one person commented.

"Peters running the country, it's official we're stuffed," another said, bluntly.

On the other hand, it's joy to the ears for NZ First supporters.

"Mean you'll be the top dog now," one told Mr Peters online.

"Know we know why you accepted Labour as your coalition," another wrote.

However Mr Peters says he's committed to providing a "good and stable government" for New Zealand.

"Ours is a novel coalition in many respects and the Prime Minister's announcement only reinforces its unique qualities," he says.

"We are committed to supporting the Prime Minister during the months ahead to continue to provide a good and stable Government."


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