New Zealand First Says Supports Labour Party for Government

October 19, 2017 Updated: October 19, 2017

WELLINGTON—New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said on Thursday he would support the Labour Party to form a government after an inconclusive Sept. 23 election, making Jacinda Ardern the country’s third female prime minister.

“We had a choice to make… for a modified status quo or for change,” Peters told reporters in Wellington, ending nearly a month of political uncertainty following the election which has hit the local currency and business sentiment.

“That’s why in the end we chose a coalition government of New Zealand First with the New Zealand Labour Party.”

New Zealand First holds the balance of power with nine seats, a Labour-Green bloc controls 54 seats, and the National Party 56 seats.

Peters’ decision to back a Labour government ends nearly a decade of National rule.

Winston Peters, leader of the New Zealand First Party, walks with officials to a meeting in Wellington, New Zealand, Oct. 8, 2017. (REUTERS/Charlotte Greenfield)