National will deliver tax relief for lower and middle-income Kiwis, “exactly as we talked about”, says Prime Minister-elect Christopher Luxon.
Luxon told a National Party volunteer and supporters event in Port Waikato “I want this man in Parliament”, referring to National candidate Andrew Bayly, who is facing a by-election.
He said National was going to deliver tax relief for lower and middle-income Kiwis, “exactly as we talked about”.
That was in reference to questions about whether he would remove the foreign buyer ban. Speculation has increased in the past week that National may be unable to deliver on its tax cut promises, because of opposition from NZ First and Act.
NZ First opposes removing the foreign buyer ban, while Act is concerned that the tax cuts are poorly costed and inflationary.
When asked about media reporting that Act leader David Seymour and NZ First leader Winston Peters were working together to form common ground so they could get leverage over National during negotiations to form Government, Luxon chuckled.
“There’s a lot of commentating and a lot of projection, I just say to you, we are working very diligently, very conscientiously, very professionally in a confidential way with the leaders in those rooms,” he said.
”I want to make sure we get it right, I want to make sure we have a strong, stable foundation because we have a lot of work to do for the New Zealand people.”
He said he would like to attend the upcoming Apec summit but the priority was to form a strong, stable government and his attendance depended on that.
Port Waikato residents go back to the polls from Monday until November 25 for the electorate’s by-election following the death of Act candidate Neil Christensen during the campaign.
According to electoral law, the candidate election for Port Waikato must be cancelled if a candidate dies after the close of nominations but before polling day. The party vote was still counted.
Because of this, National’s Andrew Bayly, who has held the seat since the 2020 election, is now hoping to defend the seat against a list of candidates which include New Zealand First’s Casey Costello. Labour has chosen not to stand a candidate.
Act was set to re-engage with National today on forming the next government and will probably continue working towards a shared agreement, while the David Seymour-led party maintains contact with NZ First.
Seymour and NZ First leader Winston Peters briefly met twice in the past two days and it is expected the pair will be speaking further before a coalition deal being finalised.
Peters left Wellington yesterday afternoon, evading reporters who had waited throughout the day for him to make a statement.
The three leaders have returned to Auckland from Wellington for the weekend to allegedly continue negotiations.
Speaking to the Herald, Peters said his party would continue working from Auckland and accepted the week had been quite busy.
Asked how talks with Seymour had fared, Peters said: “Well, it was always going to happen about that time.”
He wouldn’t elaborate on how he and Seymour had got on.
Peters hadn’t spoken to National leader Christopher Luxon when contacted by the Herald on Friday afternoon, but indicated the pair could speak later that evening.
The NZ First leader would be in Auckland for the weekend to continue negotiating while also meeting with some “international visitors” who he would not name, but clarified were not linked to coalition talks.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Chris Hipkins will be sworn in again as Prime Minister today without a formal ceremony as government coalition talks between the National Party, Act and NZ First continue.
Labour leader Chris Hipkins will be sworn in again as Prime Minister today without a formal ceremony. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Serving ministers were due to leave office at 11.59pm on Saturday, November 11.
However, because a new government has not been formed and continuing vote recounts mean the “writ” has yet to be returned, it’s been decided to roll over the caretaker arrangements for a bit longer, Hipkins said.
“Following consultation with Christopher Luxon, I have written to the Governor-General to advise her to reappoint the current ministry to operate in caretaker mode until the new government is appointed.”
NZ Herald political editor Claire Trevett reports NZ First and Act are starting to form an alliance, and working out how they might be able to force National’s hand further on some issues.
The way both sides see it, using their collective strength is logical: Turning up and saying “we both want this” would have more chance of getting it.
They have also decided that if it is going to work, they have to do it now before agreements are tied down. Once the agreements are in place, there is little wriggle room.
Yesterday’s talks were aimed at agreeing to do just that. The full negotiating teams of the two parties were in those talks. They ended after 10 minutes, and Seymour emerged to say they had been “productive” and he was very happy with them.
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