New Zealand: Jacinda Ardern to become Prime Minister

Speaking to reporters at the New Zealand Parliament, known as the Beehive, Peters was scant on details about the agreement with Ardern’s party, but hinted he could become deputy prime minister.

Ardern will become New Zealand’s third female prime minister, and the second-youngest, after Edward Stafford, who become Premier in 1856. He was also 37, but born later in the year.

Choosing to back Labour over National, which had been in government since 2008, was representative of the country’s vote for “change,” Peters said.

“All around the country people felt we could and should be doing far better,” he said. “Too many people in the power structure in New Zealand are out of touch.”

Praising Ardern’s “extraordinary talent” in the campaign, Peters backed her pledge to build thousands of affordable homes per year.

However, reflecting NZ First’s hardline immigration policies, Peters said he expected there would “be fewer people coming here,” though he attempted to reassure employers dependent on skilled immigrants, saying “it’s the massive number who are coming who are not skilled that concern us.”

At the start of the year, English — who replaced former National leader John Key in December — was in a strong position and looked certain to continue Key’s electoral success.

But a surprise decision by then-Labour leader Andrew Little to stand aside at the start of the campaign made room for Ardern, a three-term member of Parliament.

After she took control of Labour, the party surged in the polls, leading the press to coin the term “Jacindamania.”

Developing story, more to come

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