Government formation live: Coalition deals due as National eyes English's future

Coalition deals between Labour and New Zealand First and The Greens will be signed and released today. Photos by Lynn Grieveson

Prime Minister designate Jacinda Ardern is set to sign and release coalition deals with The Green Party and New Zealand First this afternoon that will clear the way for her Government to be sworn in on Thursday.

Ardern is scheduled to sign an agreement with New Zealand First at 3pm in Parliament, following by one with The Green Party at 4pm. She is expected to hold news conferences after each signing with Winston Peters and James Shaw respectively.

Ardern is expected to name the portfolios of her full ministerial lineup on Thursday.

National's caucus is scheduled to meet this afternoon, with Leader Bill English's future up in the air.

Winston Peters was reported this morning to have accepted the roles again of Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in Jacinda Ardern's cabinet.

Ardern announced after a Labour caucus meeting on Friday there would be 21 Labour ministers, but she did not specify which portfolios they would have.

With New Zealand First securing four Cabinet positions and one undersecretary role, and the Greens three ministers outside Cabinet and one undersecretary, 21 ministerial spots were available for Labour MPs.

Sixteen Labour MPs will become Cabinet ministers: Ardern herself, David Clark, Clare Curran, Kelvin Davis, Chris Hipkins, Iain Lees-Galloway, Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, Stuart Nash, Damien O’Connor, David Parker, Grant Robertson, Jenny Salesa, Carmel Sepuloni, Phil Twyford, and Megan Woods.

There are five Labour ministers outside Cabinet: Kris Faafoi, Peeni Henare, Willie Jackson, Aupito William Sio, and Meka Whaitiri.

Ardern confirmed on Friday she would take a portfolio related to children’s issues - although she would not be the Children’s Minister - while she would maintain the tradition of prime ministerial responsibility for national security issues.

She said she would spend the weekend allocating portfolios across MPs, including discussions with New Zealand First over its ministerial spots.

Ardern said Labour’s 100-day action plan would “broadly stay the same”, although it was possible there would be one addition and one subtraction.

Ministers Shaw, Genter and Sage

The Green Party announced on Saturday that James Shaw, Julie Anne Genter, Eugenie Sage and Jan Logie would have the three ministerial roles and one under-secretary role.

The Party did not specify who would be the three ministers outside cabinet and the one under-secretary, but the latter is expected to be Logie. It also did not specify the portfolios, but the following comment suggested climate change, water quality and poverty would be covered.

"The Green Party’s Ministers will work hard alongside our team and the rest of the Labour-led government to ensure we make a positive contribution to the lives of New Zealanders by addressing our priority areas of climate change, clean water, and ending poverty," Shaw said in a statement.

One policy detail that emerged on Friday was an agreement with a Green push for a referendum on the legalisation of cannabis.

Referring to a referendum on the legalisation of cannabis promised to the Greens by the 2020 election, Ardern said it could be binding.

Who might get what

Here’s Newsroom’s best guess at who could get some of the major portfolios (a note, this isn't an exhaustive list of all the portfolios up for grabs).


Jacinda Ardern: Prime Minister, Arts, Children’s Issues, National Security and Intelligence;
Kelvin Davis: Corrections;
Grant Robertson: Finance;
David Clark: Health;
Clare Curran: Civil Defence;
Chris Hipkins: Education
Iain Lees-Galloway: Workplace Relations and Safety, Immigration
Andrew Little: Justice, ACC
Nanaia Mahuta: Maori Development
Stuart Nash: Police
Damien O’Connor: Primary Industries, Trade
David Parker: Revenue, Attorney General, Communications, IT
Jenny Salesa: Skills and Training
Carmel Sepuloni: Social Development
Phil Twyford: Housing, Building and Construction
Megan Woods: Canterbury
Kris Faafoi: Tourism
Peeni Henare: Ethnic Communities
Willie Jackson: Consumer Affairs
Aupito William Sio: Pacific Affairs
Meka Whaitiri: Local Government

New Zealand First

Winston Peters: Deputy Prime Minister, Economic Development (including The Regions), Racing
Ron Mark: Defence, Veterans’ Affairs
Shane Jones: Foreign Affairs, Commerce
Tracey Martin: Tertiary Education, Women
Fletcher Tabuteau: Undersecretary to Finance


James Shaw: Climate Change
Julie-Anne Genter: Public Transport
Eugenie Sage: Conservation
Jan Logie: Undersecretary to Social Development