Ardern releases "letter of expectation" to Peters

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing the coalition agreement. Photo: Lynn Grieveson.

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has released a letter to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters outlining her expectations for the period in which she takes her maternity leave.

The letter was drafted between herself and Peters.

Ardern told the post-Cabinet media conference on Monday that the letter did not add to Cabinet Manual rules governing acting Prime Ministers, but she had chosen to release it given the level of media interest.

The letter said that Peters will exercise the “powers and functions” of Prime Minister, consulting with Ardern “where appropriate”. Ardern expects to be consulted when matters of “significant political, strategic or public interest, or national security arise”.

Peters would chair Cabinet, oversee the Government's policy program, and respond to media queries. Should Peters be unable to fulfil these functions, the role of acting Prime Minister would fall to Kelvin Davis.

Newsroom Pro's Shane Cowlishaw wrote this primer on the constraints placed on Peters as Acting Prime Minister.

She will continue to receive cabinet and briefing papers.