Peters: No dys­func­tion junc­tion

Coali­tion in show of unity, with NZ First leader deny­ing he’s the tail wag­ging dog

The New Zealand Herald - - News - Lucy Ben­nett

Ppol­i­tics rime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Win­ston Peters and Greens co-leader James Shaw pre­sented a united front at an event in which Ardern out­lined the next steps in the Gov­ern­ment’s plans.

With the first an­niver­sary of the for­ma­tion of the coali­tion Gov­ern­ment next month, and with some pub­lic divi­sion re­cently on pol­icy, Ardern de­liv­ered what, she said, was the “Cab­i­net-man­dated, coali­tion Gov­ern­ment work plan”.

“This plan rep­re­sents our shared vi­sion and pri­or­i­ties; Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens,” Ardern told an au­di­ence at the AUT cam­pus in Auck­land yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

Peters made open­ing re­marks be­fore Ardern’s speech, and the trio ap­peared at a me­dia con­fer­ence later.

Ardern out­lined 12 pri­or­ity ar­eas in the econ­omy, well­be­ing and gov­ern­ment lead­er­ship. She said they re­flected con­tri­bu­tions from each party and re­it­er­ated the com­mit­ments set out in doc­u­ments such as the coali­tion and con­fi­dence in sup­ply agree­ments.

“This plan rep­re­sents our shared vi­sion and pri­or­i­ties . . . It es­tab­lishes the foun­da­tion for the Gov­ern­ment’s work and in­cludes is­sues of par­tic­u­lar im­por­tance to each of the par­ties which are sup­ported by all of them.”

Through the 12 pri­or­ity ar­eas, New Zealan­ders could clearly see what the Gov­ern­ment was do­ing and what its pri­or­i­ties were, and pro­vided cer­tainty on its di­rec­tion. The plan will be re­viewed ev­ery six months.

Ardern ad­dressed re­cent dif­fer­ences of opin­ion in the coali­tion.

“It should come as no sur­prise . . . that as three dis­tinct par­ties, we will have dif­fer­ent opin­ions and ideas.”

Peters put it more bluntly at the press con­fer­ence later: “This is not dys­func­tion junc­tion, like the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion. We know what we’re do­ing.”

He de­nied he was the tail wag­ging the dog — “I’m not a tail. None of us is a tail” — and said he was “ex­traor­di­nar­ily happy” with the coali­tion.

Ardern said the three par­ties “gen­uinely” worked to­gether.

Na­tional and Act wrote off yes­ter­day’s speech as a “TEDx Talk” of lit­tle sub­stance. Na­tional leader Si­mon Bridges said Ardern was “des­per­ate to show a united Gov­ern­ment af­ter the sham­bles of the past few weeks”.

Act leader David Sey­mour called it “un­der­whelm­ing”.

HFor video go to nzher­ald.co.nz

Photo / Greg Bowker

New Zealand First’s Win­ston Peters, Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern and James Shaw from the Greens out­line the next steps in the Gov­ern­ment’s plans for New Zealand.

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