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Incoming New Zealand PM forms three-party coalition govt

Christopher Luxon forms a three-party coalition, securing 48 seats for New Zealand’s National Party. Swift ceremonies are planned, focusing on key promises, including banning school cellphones and addressing crime in the first 100 days.

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WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — New Zealand’s incoming conservative prime minister said Thursday that an agreement to form a three-party coalition government had been reached, 40 days after the country went to the polls.

Christopher Luxon’s National Party, which secured 48 seats in the 123-seat parliament in last month’s general election, needed the support of the conservative ACT and populist New Zealand First parties to form a government.

After protracted talks, Luxon said negotiations had “concluded” and the agreement now needed to be ratified by the three coalition partners.

“At which point, I’ll talk again to the governor general and formally confirm that we’re able to form a government,” he told reporters in Wellington.

A formal signing ceremony is expected to be held on Friday morning, Luxon said, “so that we can get the show moving and get this country going forward”.

Luxon said he then plans to reveal the ministers in his new coalition government.

ACT leader David Seymour and NZ First head Winston Peters are both in the running to be deputy prime minister.

Luxon said an official swearing-in ceremony is slated for Monday.

New Zealand has had a caretaker government since voters ended the six-year reign of the centre-left Labour government in elections on 14 October.

Labour’s Chris Hipkins, who replaced Jacinda Ardern as prime minister in January, conceded defeat a few hours after the polls closed.

Luxon’s National Party has promised to ban cellphones in schools, crack down on crime and scrap planned fuel tax hikes in its first 100 days in office.

— AFP

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