Greens accept Ministerial portfolios, although Labour has majority . . .
Following the Labour Party’s decisive victory in New Zealand’s October 17 general election, in which it won a majority mandate, Labour and the Green Party have formalized a ‘Cooperation Agreement’ in which the Greens take on two ministerial portfolios outside Cabinet. Green co-leader James Shaw will serve as Minister for Climate Change and Associate Minister for the Environment, while his fellow co-leader, Marama Davidson, becomes Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence and Associate Minister of Housing. The Labour/Green Cooperation Agreement will see the two parties work together on the environment, climate change, biodiversity, and child welfare. The Greens have agreed not to oppose votes on confidence and supply. Cabinet was sworn in earlier today.
Domestic focus: economic recovery, public health measures . . .
In a major speech on Thursday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern identified her government’s immediate priorities as rebuilding the country’s economy and continuing the health response to keep COVID-19 at bay. The economic recovery plan includes investing C$37 billion in infrastructure renewal and extending business support programs such as small business loans and wage subsidies to help employers retain staff. The country’s COVID-19 response, which has been widely praised internationally, will now come under the authority of the Minister for COVID-19 Response, a newly-created position. New Zealand has only 67 active cases of COVID-19, all of which are in managed isolation facilities or linked to them.
International priorities . . .
The newly-formed government with a diverse cabinet has set trade relationships with key markets as a top economic priority. Ardern has tasked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to provide advice on trade missions to the U.S., China, the U.K., and the EU once conditions allow. And next year, New Zealand will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings virtually. Although the government has yet to announce APEC 2021 priorities, the appointment of Nanaia Mahuta as the country's first female Indigenous foreign minister signals a strong emphasis on inclusive trade and Māori business development. In an interview earlier this week, Minister Mahuta said New Zealand remains committed to the multilateral rules-based trade system and a progressive trade agenda.
- New Zealand Herald: Deal done: Greens accept ministerial portfolios (with video)
- Radio New Zealand: Jacinda Ardern reveals top economic priorities government will focus on for rest of 2020
- Radio New Zealand: Who is Nanaia Mahuta? (with audio)