Full speech: Watch, read Chris Hipkins' 2023 coalition partners announcement

  • 27/08/2023

Labour leader Chris Hipkins has announced who his party will and will not work with as a coalition partner following the 2023 general election.

The Prime Minister ruled out working with Winston Peters and New Zealand First, despite their help in getting Labour into power in 2017.

Hipkins described New Zealand as "the best little country on earth" in his speech, but labelled opposition parties National, ACT and New Zealand First a "Coalition of Fear" that is "focused on dividing us".

Read the full speech below or watch it above.

Chris Hipkins' announcement:

In times like these, certainty matters.

Today I'll provide New Zealanders with certainty on who Labour will and won't work with after polling day.

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.

First, I want people to vote Labour.

That will give New Zealand the core to the strong, stable, progressive government the country needs.

I recognise that it is likely that we will need to work with other parties to form a government as we have done before.

Over recent weeks I've considered which parties' values and policies align with my own and those of the Labour Party.

I've also considered how I intend to lead if I'm successful at securing a full term as Prime Minister.

In my experience working across coalition governments, policy disagreements can be overcome if you have shared goals and values.

I believe that there's always more that unites New Zealanders than divides us.

We may come from many different backgrounds and beliefs but at our core Kiwis share common aspirations.

A good job, a home, quality education for our kids, good healthcare when we're sick, secure communities, protection in retirement.

And we share a sense of hope that there are better days ahead.

That by working hard we can build a better life for ourselves and leave a better society to our children.

At a time of enormous global and domestic challenges, some of the most difficult any of us have ever faced, I'm firmly of the view unity will get us through.

The past few years haven't been easy, particularly as we've all navigated our way through a once in a generation global pandemic.

But in recent years New Zealand's seen numerous examples of where national unity achieved great things.

The way we came together after the March 15 terror attacks was an example to the world of how being empathetic and strong conquers fear and hate.

And our COVID-19 response, where we worked together to defeat the virus, saved thousands of lives and protected jobs and businesses.

We're at our best when we're united.

Division isn't a path to progress, and it's just not how I operate.

Therefore, my message is simple.

In this campaign I will promote a message of unity and intend to work with parties and leaders that think the same.

That doesn't mean I won't criticise my opposition, in fact I must.

Elections are contests of policies and values. Disagreements are a fundamental part of a healthy democracy.

But I won't seek to divide our communities.

Labour's focus in this election won't be on imported culture wars, but fighting an economic war against inflation and inequality.

I've always said my focus is on bread and butter issues and for me and Labour that's always about helping families and communities get ahead.

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

So, on that basis I'm ruling out working with New Zealand First and Winston Peters after the election.

New Zealand First has become a party more interested in toilets than the issues that really matter.

Labour has worked with Winston Peters and New Zealand First in government twice.

We're the only party New Zealand First have managed to complete a full term of Government with.

But the rhetoric I'm hearing from Winston Peters in this election means I just don't see any compatibility with my vision for an inclusive, progressive and prosperous society.

Winston Peters and New Zealand First are a force for instability chaos, and that's the last thing the country needs right now.

In fact the National, ACT, New Zealand First coalition of cuts, chaos and confusion hold a compilation of views I think would alienate large sections of our society. Not just economically, but to their sense of belonging too.

They are the Coalition of Fear.

The National Party has many MPs and candidates who want 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.

It's no surprise, given they have people in their party who intimidate and threaten other MPs and who think it's funny to place a women MP's face onto a toilet seat.

I voted to legalise abortion in our first term, and I'll continue to defend a women's right to choose.

David Seymour has said action to address inequities for Maōri is equivalent to apartheid.

How is it possible in a wealthy country like ours we continue to have such sharp disparities in areas like health, education and housing simply because of ethnicity.

So, I back our initiatives like the Maōri Health Authority, and the role it will play in enhancing our health as a nation.

It doesn't lessen the health outcomes of anyone else, but it can help to improve the health outcomes for Maōri.

David Seymour has also made chilling comments about our Pasifika communities, and claimed those to simply be a joke. 

I don't think it's a laughing matter.

And then there is Winston Peters. He is seeking to make trans people the enemy in this campaign.

Living fully in your own skin isn't always easy for any of us at the best of times, and it can be particularly hard for our rainbow communities.

None of them deserve the kind of abuse that is being directed their way, stoked up by politicians who should know better.

As political leaders we have choices – to play into fear or to be optimistic and seek solutions that benefit us all.

I think the biggest issues we face are around our economy, the cost of living, good jobs, good housing, reducing poverty, and addressing climate change.

That's where our focus should be.

National, ACT and New Zealand First however are focused on dividing us.

They are a coalition of cuts and chaos that won't be able to get stuff done.

They want to single some of us out and tell us that we're not as worthy as others. Not as valued as others. Not as Kiwi as others. We know where this leads.

I just won't accept that. It goes against my values, Labour's values, and the values that define our country.

I have news for all those who try and divide us and take us backwards. You will fail.

Because for Kiwis, the power of unity has always defeated division.

That is why under my leadership, Labour will not enter into any sort of governing arrangement with any of them.

As to the parties we will work with.

The Green Party have been part of confidence and supply or cooperation agreements with Labour for the past six years.

We have worked constructively over that time and can continue to do so.

We share a common direction, just with different ways of getting there.

We'll both campaign vigorously on our separate platforms and each try and maximise our own vote. That's fine with me.

But we know after the election we will be able to work constructively together in the best interests of New Zealand.

The Maōri Party has in the past supported National in government, but they are a party we can work with too.

Sir John Key had a constructive relationship with the Maōri Party in Government, and I believe I will too.

Labour is proud of our own long track record of representation and advancement of Maōri and will be contesting vigorously in the Maōri seats this election.

We don't agree with everything the Maōri Party says, but I'm confident we have enough shared values and goals to work together if that's what New Zealanders decide.

Ever since its formation over 100 years ago, the Labour Party has been the party of progress in New Zealand.

We stand for workers' rights to a fair deal and a women's right to choose.

We are proudly nuclear free and combat discrimination where we find it.

And we are for inclusion and mutual respect.

I reckon most New Zealanders think that way too.

As a nation we're proudly diverse.

What makes us different from the rest makes us better and unique.

It's summed up in the pride that Kiwis feel about our country when we travel overseas.

The best little country on earth.

One where everyone gets a fair go, and we help each other out.

So, in this election when casting your vote, I'm asking New Zealanders to think about what type of leadership you want and what kind of country you want for your children, your friends your workmates and loved ones.

One that winds the clock backwards on workers, on women, on the environment and on inclusion.

Or one that keeps moving forward, together.

I will bring New Zealanders together.

I'm a leader who's in for you, whether you're Maōri, Pacifica, Pakeha, gay, straight, born here, migrated here, a man, a woman, trans, young, old, or different in your own way.

I'm in it for you.