Christopher Luxon won't rule out NZ First coalition after Winston Peters says no to current Labour Party

  • 21/11/2022

Christopher Luxon is not ruling out a coalition with NZ First after the 2023 election, but is imploring voters to put their support behind National.

Winston Peters, the NZ First leader, has said his party won't work with the current Labour Government if it is in a position to do so after next year's election. He's accused the Jacinda Ardern-led party of "lying" to NZ First during their coalition in the last term. 

It's a shift for Peters, who normally remains coy about what parties he could work with until after an election is held.

National leader Luxon wouldn't say on Monday whether he wanted to work with Peters - but also didn't rule it out. 

"Way too early to speculate on any electoral calculations. As I've said, if you want to change this Government, and a lot of New Zealanders do, there's only one thing to do and that's party vote National," Luxon said at a media standup in Napier.

"All I'm saying to you is the right way, if you want to change this Government, is party vote National in 2023."

Luxon said his focus is on the issues of the day, including the economy, healthcare and education.

Sir John Key ruled out working with Peters ahead of the 2008 and 2011 elections, while former National leader Simon Bridges also dashed any chance of a National-NZ First coalition before the 2020 election.

Earlier this year, Luxon initially wouldn't rule out working with the newly formed Freedoms NZ party if it was to enter Parliament after the next election, which he believed was unlikely. 

However, after facing criticism for leaving the door open to a deal with the Brian Tamaki-led party, he ruled it out

"What I've tried to say consistently is, 'I've got nothing in common with Tamaki, I think they're crazy, I don't think they're serious, I don't think they are going to make it and you saw that coalition fall apart and I said read between the lines'," the Opposition leader told Newstalk ZB. 

"Here's the deal, every week if you're in the Labour Party you want to cause a distraction or what I call a squirrel to try and deflect from their utter incompetence to get anything done. 

"If it helps Mike, I am very happy to give you a Mike Hosking exclusive and rule out Tamaki and never work with him but I just want us to get back to focus on the big issues because this country is in trouble," he said. 

NZ First was kicked out of Parliament in 2020 after securing just 2.6 percent of the vote. Over the past year, Peters has lambasted the Government over everything from cost of living, to crime, to COVID-19 restrictions.