Election 2023 coalition agreement: Winston Peters makes first remarks after being announced as Deputy PM, promises 'much, much better Govt'

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has made his first remarks after being announced as the country's new Deputy Prime Minister under the three-party coalition agreement - a Government he says will be "much, much better" than the last.

At the unveiling of the historic coalition agreement on Friday morning, Peters was confirmed to be the incoming Deputy Prime Minister for the first half of the term, with ACT leader David Seymour taking over the role from May 31, 2025. Peters will also serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs, while Seymour will take the Regulation portfolio. 

It took 20 days for the negotiations between Peters, Seymour and incoming Prime Minister Christoper Luxon to be finalised, sparking criticism from commentators who said the talks were taking too long and leaving the public and Parliamentary staffers in a state of limbo.

Addressing the media and New Zealand public alongside Luxon and Seymour at the signing ceremony, Peters used his minute-and-a-half speech to hit back at the criticism, noting the talks were "seriously long, difficult, complicated and arduous in the extreme".

"Please understand it was under three weeks - please do not be mathematical morons by saying it's '40 days'. If we had started the coalition talks on election day, you would've been arguing to wait until the special votes had been counted," he said, as reporters laughed. 

"We took five months less than Germany did in 2017. Don't argue about it - if you want to argue with me, you should've been there before the election, maybe I'd have gotten more votes."

"Alright, alright," Luxon hastily interjected as reporters continued to chuckle, with Peters himself even throwing a smile.

"We in New Zealand First, for our part, know that it's going to be a much, much better Government. Thank you very much."

The three-party coalition Government is the first in New Zealand's MMP history, with all parties represented in Cabinet. Here's the basics of what it will look like:

  • Peters will be Deputy Prime Minister for the first half of the three-year Parliamentary term
  • ACT leader David Seymour will be Deputy Prime Minister for the second half of the term from May 31, 2025
  • Peters will be Minister of Foreign Affairs and Seymour will be Minister for Regulation
  • The 20-strong Cabinet will have 14 National ministers, three ACT ministers and three New Zealand First ministers
  • Nicola Willis will be Minister of Finance, Brooke van Velden will be Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, and Hon Shane Jones will be Minister for Regional Development
  • There will be five ministers from National, two from ACT and one from New Zealand First outside Cabinet
  • ACT and New Zealand First will each have one Parliamentary Under-Secretary.

Watch Peters' speech above.