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Sixth Labour Government of New Zealand

The Sixth Labour Government has governed New Zealand since 26 October 2017. It is headed by Labour Party leader and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Sixth Labour Government
Ministry of New Zealand
New Zealand executive, pictured after their swearing-in
Date formed26 October 2017
People and organisations
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralPatsy Reddy
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Deputy Prime MinisterWinston Peters
Member partiesLabour Party
NZ First
Opposition partyNational Party
Opposition leader
Election(s)2017 general election
Legislature term(s)52nd Parliament
PredecessorFifth National Government of New Zealand

Following the 2017 general election held on 23 September 2017, the New Zealand First party held the balance of power between the sitting centre-right National Party government, and the left bloc of the Labour and Green parties. Following negotiations with the two major parties, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters announced on 19 October 2017 that his party would form a coalition government with Labour.[1] That same day, Green Party leader James Shaw announced that his party would give confidence and supply to the 55 seat Labour–NZ First government.[2] The Greens' support, plus the coalition, resulted in 63 seats to National's 56—enough to ensure that Ardern maintained the confidence of the House.



The 2017 general election saw the New Zealand First party hold the balance of power between National and the centre-left bloc of Labour and the Green Party. Following several weeks of negotiations with both National and Labour, New Zealand First announced on 19 October 2017 it would seek to form a minority coalition government with Labour. Confidence-and-supply support from the Greens, negotiated separately with Labour, enables the Government to have a majority in the House of Representatives.[1][2] During the coalition-forming negotiations, Labour agreed to drop its proposed water tax on farmers as part of its agreement with New Zealand First.[3] In return, NZ First agreed to drop their demand for referenda on overturning New Zealand's anti-smacking ban and abolishing the Māori electorates.[4][5] The Greens consented to a confidence and supply agreement with Labour and New Zealand First in return for several concessions, including: a referendum on legalising cannabis, treating alcohol and drugs as a health issue, and various policies to combat climate change.[6][7]

First term (October 2017—present)Edit


In November 2017, Prime Minister Ardern and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced that their government would continue participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations despite opposition from the Green Party.[8][9] That same month, Ardern offered to resettle 150 of the asylum seekers from the former Manus Regional Processing Centre in New Zealand, but was rebuffed by the Turnbull Government in Australia.[10][11] On 20 November, Ardern reaffirmed the Government's commitment to re-enter Pike River Mine with the goal of completing mine recovery by March 2019.[12] Minister for Pike River Re-Entry Andrew Little also announced the creation of the Pike River Recovery Agency.[13]

On 12 December, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced that the Government would be ending National Standards in schools. This decision was welcomed by the teachers' and principals' unions but opposed by the opposition National and ACT parties.[14][15] On 20 December, the Government established a Tax Working Group consisting of several academics, businesspeople, and senior civil servants under the leadership of former Finance Minister Michael Cullen with the goal of reforming the taxation system and alleviating the country's housing crisis.[16] On 22 December, Prime Minister Ardern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters opposed US President Donald Trump's move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly and reiterated New Zealand's support for the Two State Solution.[17]


On 19 January 2018, Ardern revealed that she was expecting her first child in June, and that Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters would serve as Acting Prime Minister while she took maternity leave for a period of six weeks.[18][19] In mid-February 2018, the Government introduced legislation to stop the creation of new charter schools but to allow the 11 existing schools to continue operating while they negotiated options with the Ministry of Education; with Prime Minister Ardern suggesting that the existing schools could convert to "special character" schools.[20][21] In early-March 2018, during a state visit to Samoa, Ardern stated that New Zealand would be seeking to shift away from a 'donor, recipient relationship' with Pacific Islands nations in favour of forming partnerships with these states and introduced a NZ$10 million aid package to Samoa with NZ$3 million going to disaster relief following Cyclone Gita and the rest being allocated to social developmental and education projects.[22][23][24]

On 8 March 2018, Trade Minister Parker stated her government's intention of ratifying the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, an amended version of the TPP, in Chile.[25] On 3 April 2018, Ardern and Transport Minister Phil Twyford introduced the Government's ten-year draft land transport plan which included a proposed 9-12% a litre fuel tax hike, a proposed 20% fuel tax hike in Auckland, boosting public transport funding by 46%, cutting state highway funding by 11%, and allocating $4 billion over the next ten years to establish rapid transit including light rail with an initial focus on Auckland.[26][27] On 11 April 2018, Attorney General David Parker announced a government inquiry into allegations that the New Zealand Special Air Service had committed war crimes against Afghan civilians during Operation Burnham while stationed in Afghanistan.[28][29]

On 11 April, Attorney-General David Parker announced a government inquiry into the New Zealand Special Air Service's actions during Operation Burnham in Afghanistan in August 2010.[28][30] On 12 April, the government banned future offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand. In addition, Energy Minister Megan Woods clarified that the thirty existing exploration permits would still continue and be unaffected by the ban. New Zealand has 27 oil fields with most being located in the Taranaki Basin. The ban on future oil and gas exploration was part of a coalition agreement between the Labour and Green parties. The decision was welcomed by Greens Co-Leader James Shaw, Greenpeace and Forest & Bird but was criticised by the Mayor of New Plymouth Neil Holdom, and the opposition National and ACT parties.[31][32][33]

On 19 April, Little entered the Pike River Mine portal with two Pike Family representatives to demonstrate that a safe re-entry was possible. He reiterated the Government's promise to re-enter the drift in order to recover evidence and the remains of the deceased miners.[34] On 4 May, Ardern and Housing Minister Phil Twyford stated that the Government would be investing NZ$100 million into combating homelessness. This initiative included investing NZ$37 million into building 1,500 shorter term-homes and NZ$63 million into the Housing First programme; which involves finding permanent homes for vulnerable families and treating addiction and mental health issues.[35][36][37] On 17 May, Finance Minister Grant Robertson released the 2018 New Zealand budget, allocating NZ$2.8 billion in operational funding and NZ$3.8 billion in capital funding to the 2018 New Zealand Budget.[38][39]

On 11 June, the Labour-led coalition government had abandoned efforts to appeal the Sentencing and Parole Reform Act 2010 (the so-called three-strikes law) due to internal opposition from NZ First.[40][41][42] Ardern confirmed that she would temporarily relinquish her duties to Winston Peters, following the birth of her child, for a period of six weeks. Peters became Acting Prime Minister on 20 June 2018, when Ardern went into labour. Her six-week maternity leave concluded on 2 August 2018.[43][44]

On 1 July 2018, the government announced that it would be implementing its Families Package, which had been signed into law on 15 December 2017.[45][46] The Families Package would increase paid parental leave by 22 weeks and 26 weeks from July 2020; introduce a Winter Energy Payment for beneficiaries and pensioners; paying $60-a-week to low and middle-income families with babies and toddlers; reinstating the Independent Earner Tax Credit; and increasing benefit allowances for orphans, unsupported children, and foster carers.[45][47] The Families Package was criticised by the opposition National finance spokesperson Amy Adams for increasing taxation. In response, Finance Minister Grant Robertson countered that the Government was investing in low and middle-income New Zealanders rather than the "top 10% of earners". Meanwhile, Child Poverty Action Group Susan St John said that "the changes were long overdue but did not go far enough".[45][48]

On 3 July, the New Zealand Educational Institute, the national trade union body for primary teachers, announced that teachers and principals would go on strike on 15 August after the Ministry of Education rejected their demand for a 16% pay rise.[49][50] On 12 July 2018, 30,000 nurses went on strike for 24 hours; the first such nationwide strike in thirty years. The industrial action came after the New Zealand Nurses Organisation rejected the government's offer of a 12.5% pay rise.[51] A few days earlier, 4,000 workers at Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment stopped work for two hours to protest their salaries, their first industrial action in 22 years.[52] On 7 August, nurses voted to accept an offer by DHBs that included pay rises between 12% and 16%, an earlier new pay step for senior nurses, the implementation of Capacity Demand Management (CCDM); and a commitment to pay equity by the end of next year.[53][54][55]

On 14 August, the Government passed the Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2018 which bans the sale of existing homes to non-residents as a means of easing the housing shortage in New Zealand. Australians and Singaporean nationals were made exempt from this ban due to free trade rules. The Bill was supported by Labour and its coalition partners New Zealand First and the Greens but was opposed by the opposition National and ACT parties. It passed its third reading on 14 August by 63 votes to 57 votes.[56][57]

On 30 August 2018, Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi announced that the Government was investing into supporting "rapid response teams" in emergencies following a critical Ministerial Technical Advisory Group's (TAG) review of the Government's unsatisfactory responses to the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake and the 2017 Port Hills fires.[58][59]

By September 2018, all twelve existing charter schools had been successfully converted into state integrated and special character schools.[60][61] In early October 2018, the Government formally established a new government department called the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to manage housing and urban development issues. This department is headed by Minister of Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford.[62][63]

In late November 2018, Prime Minister Ardern and Health Minister David Clark announced that the Government would reduce the costs of visits to the general practitioner as part of their Budget 2018. These policies include extending free doctors' visits to resident children under the age of thirteen and lowering Community Service Card holders' fees by $20-$30 per visit.[64][65]

On 11 December 2018, the Government passed a law, amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 to allow terminally ill patients to use marijuana for palliative care. The new law was supported by all coalition parties but was opposed by the opposition National Party, which argued that it would legalise recreational cannabis consumption.[66][67] On 18 December, the Government announced that it would be holding a binding referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis during the 2020 general election.[68][69]

On 19 December, the Government announced that it would be voting in favour of the UN's Global Compact for Migration. Foreign Minister Peters justified the decision on the grounds the Compact was not legally binding and would not hinder New Zealand from setting its own migration policies. The Government's decision was criticised by the opposition National Party, which claimed it would violate New Zealand's sovereignty.[70]


In mid-January 2019, Minister of Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford admitted that the government would be unable to meet its target of building 1,000 KiwiBuild homes by 1 July, with only 33 homes being built as of 23 January. The minister estimated that the government would be able to build only 300 houses by the 1 July deadline.[71][72] That same month, it was reported that the KiwiBuild Head Stephen Barclay had resigned following disagreements with the Housing Minister and criticism from Housing and Urban Development employees over his leadership and management. Barclay announced that he was filing a "constructive dismissal case" against the ministry for breaching his privacy.[73][74][75][76]

On 3 February 2019, Prime Minister Ardern and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced that the government had allocated NZ$100 million from its Provincial Growth Fund to supporting Māori economic development by providing access capital. It also allocated another NZ$27 million to improving transportation and the horticulture sector around Kaipara District.[77][78]

In mid-February, Education Minister Chris Hipkins proposed merging the country's sixteen polytechnics into a "NZ Institute of Skills and Technology" in response to deficits and a slump in domestic enrolments. This proposed NZ Institute would also take over the enrolment and management of apprentices and industry trainees from the country's eleven industry training organisations. In addition, the government will create a new vocational funding system. The Tertiary Education Union, Employers and Manufacturers Union, and the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce have expressed tentative support for the government's proposals. However, the opposition National Party's Education spokesperson Shane Reti criticised the proposed merger, claiming that it would entail the centralisation of decision-marking in the vocational education sector.[79][80] In response to the Christchurch mosque shootings on 15 March 2019, Hipkins extended the polytechnic submission timeframe to 5 April 2019.[81]

On 5 March 2019, the New Zealand Parliament unanimously passed the Crimes Amendment Bill, which repealed Section 123 of the Crimes Act.[82] This bill had been introduced the previous year by Minister of Justice Andrew Little and sought to overturn the law banning the publication of any "blasphemous libel" in New Zealand. The amendment received support from both government and opposition parties as well as the Ministry of Justice, the Human Rights Commission, and the New Zealand Council of Civil Liberties. The bill received the royal assent on 11 March 2019 and came into force the following day.[83][84][85]

Following the Christchurch mosque shootings on 15 March 2019, Prime Minister Ardern announced that the government would be reforming New Zealand's gun laws, including a proposed ban on semi-automatic firearms.[86][87] Attorney General David Parker said that the government would consider legislation dealing with semi-automatic weapons and other issues.[88] On 21 March 2019, Ardern announced that the government would ban all semi-automatic firearms and assault rifles. She also clarified that the government would be introducing a buy-back scheme to remove all prohibited firearms from circulation.[89][90][91]

On 10 April, the government's Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act 2019 passed its third reading, banning semi-automatic firearms, magazines, and parts. The Arms Amendment Act 2019 was supported by all parties except the opposition ACT Party's sole MP David Seymour.[92][93][94] In addition, the government announced an amnesty and buy-back scheme for prohibited firearms and components.[95][96][97]

On 17 April, Prime Minister Ardern announced that it would not be introducing a capital gains tax, citing disagreements among coalition parties over implementing such a tax. The Prime Minister pledged that under her leadership capital gains tax would not be introduced in the future. Finance Minister Robertson said that the Government would still explore options for targeting land speculation, land banking, and vacant land. Opposition Leader Bridges criticised the capital gains tax debate for wasting taxpayer funds and undermining business and investor confidence.[98][99][100][101]

On 2 May 2019, Education Minister Hipkins announced that the Government would be investing NZ$95 million to train 2,400 new teacher trainees through increased scholarships and placements, new employment-based teacher education programmes, and iwi-based scholarships over the next four years to address the teaching shortage. Post Primary Teachers' Association President Jack Boyle responded that the Government's measures were insufficient to deal with the teachers shortage, which he attributed to insufficient salaries, high workloads, and a high attrition rate among new teaching graduates. National Party Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye claimed that the Government's spending would not address the teaching shortage while ACT MP David Seymour opined that the money would be better spent on increasing teaching salaries.[102][103][104]

On 8 May 2019, the Government introduced the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill to Parliament.[105] The Government's Zero Carbon Bill passed its first reading on 22 May 2019. The opposition National Party supported the bill despite its concerns about the bill's methane targets.[106][107]

On 21 May 2019, mine re-entry efforts into the Pike River Mine began. Recovery and forensic operations are expected to take several months.[108][109][110][111]

On 30 May 2019, the Government released its first Wellbeing Budget. Key provisions included creating a new frontline mental health service, investing $40 million in suicide prevention services, stationing nurses at secondary schools, building 1,044 new homes, investing $320 million into specialist services to address family and sexual violence, investing $200 million into apprenticeships and vocational training programs, investing $1 billion into KiwiRail, and investing $1.7 billion and $1.2 billion into repairing hospitals and schools respectively.[112][113] The release of the Wellbeing Budget was complicated by the accidental publication two days earlier of high-level documents on a test website that was not supposed to be publicly available. The opposition National Party gained access to these documents and criticised the budget. This leak initially raised allegations of hacking and was referred to the Police before a senior Treasury official confirmed that the leak had been accidental. Opposition Leader Bridges also criticised the Government's handling of the data leak and called for the resignations of Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf.[114][115][116]

On 10 June 2019, Prime Minister Ardern, Foreign Minister Peters, and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced that the New Zealand Government would be withdrawing New Zealand military forces from Iraq in June 2020. The New Zealand Defence Force had dispatched a non-combat Building Partner Capacity (BPC) training mission to help Australian forces train Iraqi Security Forces at the Taji Military Complex in Iraq in support of the US-led coalition efforts to combat Islamic State forces in Iraq.[117] The number of NZ military personnel would be reduced from 95 to 75 by July 2019, and 45 from January 2020.[118] However, NZDF personnel would remain in Afghanistan for at least another 18 months. Prime Minister Ardern also announced that the number of NZDF personnel in Afghanistan would be reduced from 13 to 11 by March 2020.[119] While National has cautiously supported the Government's policy, the party's defence spokesperson Mark Mitchell has voiced concerns that the Iraqi withdrawal was too soon.[118]

On 11 June 2019, Defence Minister Mark released the Government's $20 billion Defence Capability Plan 2019, which will cover the NZ Defence Force's budget for the next eleven years. Key items include investing NZ$3.5 billion for new and replacement naval vessels and maritime helicopters, NZ$2.5 billion worth of upgrades for the Royal New Zealand Air Force, bolstering New Zealand Army troop numbers from 4,700 to 6,000 by 2035, and launching satellite-based surveillance systems. National's defence spokersperson Mitchell has supported the Government's Defence Capability Plan but disagreed with the Government's decision to bypass the tender process for new Lockheed C-130 Hercules jets.[120][121]

On 20 June, Finance Minister Robertson and Police Minister Nash launched the Government's six-month firearms buy-back amnesty, which would run until 20 December. The Government allocated NZ$200 million to the firearms buy-back scheme. Licensed firearms owners will be eligible for the scheme. There are four collection options for the government's buy-back scheme: large-scale events at centralised community locations; handing over items at approved gun dealers; bulk pick-ups by Police; and at Police stations.[122][123]

On 26 June 2019, the primary teachers' union, the New Zealand Educational Institute, voted to accept the Government's NZ$1.5 billion collective agreement. This collective agreement contains a new, unified pay scale that will restore parity across the state schooling sector. Key provisions include raising all teachers' base salaries by 18.5% by July 2021 and making Q3+, Q4, and Q5 teachers eligible for a new top salary of NZ$90,000. While primary teachers voted to accept the Government's offer, primary principals have rejected the offer, demanding better pay and working conditions.[124][125][126] On 28 June 2019, the secondary teachers' union, the Post Primary Teachers' Association, voted by a majority of 65% to accept the Government's pay offer, which included a lump sum of NZ$1,500 and a 3% pay rise in July and over the next three years.[127][128][129]

On 27 June 2019, Prime Minister Ardern announced a cabinet reshuffle. She split the housing portfolio into three positions; appointing Megan Woods as Minister of Housing, Kris Faafoi as Associate Minister of Housing, and Phil Twyford as Minister of Urban Development. In addition, Grant Robertson was appointed as Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission; Jenny Salesa as Minister of Customs; and Peeni Henare became Minister of Civil Defence. In addition, several Labour Members of Parliament were appointed to various parliamentary positions including assistant speaker, senior government whip, and parliamentary private secretaries.[130][131]

On 17 July, the Government released its plan on integrating drones into the country's transportation system, entitled Taking Flight: an aviation system for the automated age. Transportation Minister Phil Twyford said that drones "could deliver economic benefits by doing tasks that are time intensive, expensive, and risky – such as monitoring crops, inspecting power lines and helping with emergency operations". As of 2019, there are 77,000 drones in New Zealand with many being used in the forestry, agriculture, and conservation sectors.[132][133][134]

On 22 July, Prime Minister Ardern announced a second series of gun reforms which including creating a national firearms register, tighter restrictions on who can obtain a firearms licence, and a ban on overseas visitors buying guns in New Zealand but still allowing them to bring personal firearms into the country. Police Minister Stuart Nash announced that the Government would be drafting a new bill the following month to codify these proposed reforms into law.[135][136] The New Zealand Police's union, the Police Association, has advocated the establishment of a national gun register and welcomed the government's proposed raft of gun reforms.[137]

On 26 July, the New Zealand Educational Institute's kindergarten teacher members voted to accept an agreement with the Ministry of Education that will put early childhood education teachers' pay on par with primary and secondary school teachers. Early childhood education teachers will receive a pay rise of at least 18.5% by July 2020, NZEI members will receive a lump sum of NZ$1,500, and there will be an increase in the head and senior teachers' allowances.[138][139]

On 1 August, the Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced that the Government would merge all 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) into a single entity in April 2020. In addition, Hipkins announced that the Government would replace all 11 industrial training organisations (ITOs) with between four and seven workforce development councils that would be set up by 2022 to influence vocational education and training. While polytechnics have been cautiously optimistic about the changes despite concerns about losing their autonomy to a national organisation, ITOs have opposed these changes, arguing that they would wreak an already working system. National's tertiary education spokesperson Shane Reti criticised the proposed changes as a "step backward" that would lead to job losses.[140][141][142]

On 4 August, Prime Minister Ardern announced that the Government would be investing NZ$25 million in purchasing 12 new radiation machines over the next three years. Funding for this will come from the $1.7 billion the Government invested in hospital and health facilities as part of its Wellbeing Budget.[143][144][145]

On 5 August, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced a new abortion reform law that would remove abortion from the Crimes Act 1961 and allow women unrestricted access to abortion within the 20 week gestation period. Other changes include allowing women to self-refer to an abortion service, ensuring that health practitioners advise women about counselling services, establishing safe areas around abortion facilities, and requiring conscientious objecting doctors to inform women about their stance and alternative services.[146][147][148][149] Despite initially ruling out a referendum, Labour's coalition partner New Zealand First has since supported calls for a referendum on abortion reform. National Party leader Simon Bridges has indicated that he would support a Select Committee considering the bill.[150][151] On 8 August, the Government's abortion reform bill passed its first reading by 94 to 23 votes. Politicians followed a conscience vote instead of voting according to party lines.[152][153][154][155]

In mid August 2019, the Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi and Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced that the Government would be launching a NZ$54 million program to tackle homelessness in New Zealand. This includes investing $31 million in recruiting 67 intensive case managers and navigators to work with homeless people and a further $16 million in the Sustaining Tenancies Programme. This funding complements the Government's Housing First programme.[156][157] On 29 August, Prime Minister Ardern and Children's Minister Martin announced that the Government will be launching a free lunch program. The trial program will begin with 5,000 primary and intermediate-aged school pupils at 30 schools in Rotorua and Hawke's Bay with plans to extend it to 21,000 pupils in 120 schools by early 2021.[158][159]

On 30 August, the Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter announced the establishment of a National Health Coordination Centre in Auckland in response to a measles outbreak.[160] As of 30 August, there were 759 reported cases of measles in Auckland, 41 in the Canterbury region, and four in the Otago and Southland regions.[161] On 1 September, Prime Minister Ardern and Health Minister Clark announced that it would create a national Cancer Control Agency by December 2019 and would also invest NZ$60 million into the national drug purchasing company Pharmac as part of a ten-year cancer action plan.[162][163][164]

On 4 September, Housing Minister Megan Woods announced that the Government was revising its KiwiBuild programme, admitting that the initial goal had been "overly ambitious" and that houses had been built in places with little demand. Changes have included scrapping its target to build 100,000 houses over the next ten years, reducing government-back deposits for housing loans from 10% to 5%, and introducing progressive home ownership schemes including shared ownership and rent to buy initiatives.[165][166]

On 10 September, Prime Minister Ardern and Health Minister Clark announced the establishment of a Suicide Prevention Office to address the country's suicide rate. Key changes include shifting from a mental health service model to a community-based one and supporting people bereaved by suicide. The Suicide Prevention Office will initially be under the oversight of the Ministry of Health but there are plans to make it a standalone government service.[167][168]

On 12 September, Prime Minister Ardern announced that the teaching of New Zealand history will be made compulsory in all New Zealand primary and secondary schools by 2022. Key topics include the arrival of Māori people, European colonisation, the Treaty of Waitangi, immigration to New Zealand, the country's evolving national identity during the 19th and 20th centuries, and New Zealand's involvement in the Pacific. Education Minister Hipkins also confirmed that the Education Ministry would work with historical and curriculum experts, the Māori and Pacific communities, students, parents, and other interested parties. Historically, the teaching of New Zealand history has been neglected in schools in favor of European history. Hokotehi Moriori Trust chair Maui Solomon welcomed the Government's announcement, saying that it would help dispel myths about the Moriori being a separate Melanesian people who were displaced by the Māori.[169][170]

On 13 September 2019, Prime Minister Ardern and Police Minister Nash announced that the Government would be introducing an Arms Legislation Bill in late September. The new bill would introduce an online firearms register to stop the flow of guns into the criminal underworld. The opposition National Party, which had seen a leaked draft of the bill the previous month, and gun lobby groups claimed that the bill would hurt firearm owners and gun clubs.[171][172][173] The Government's Arms Legislation Bill passed its first reading. Labour, the Greens, and NZ First supported the bill but it was opposed by the National and ACT parties.[174][175]

In early October 2019, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced that the Government would be scrapping a requirement for African and Middle Eastern refugee applicants to have relatives who were residing in New Zealand. Despite increasing the African and Middle Eastern refugee quotas from 14% to 15%, New Zealand's refugee resettlement program would still focus on resettling refugees from the Asia-Pacific region, which is allocated 50% on the annual refugee quota. Refugee advocate Murdoch Stephens, World Vision, and the Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon had previously criticized the previous policy as discriminatory.[176][177][178]

On 8 October 2019, the New Zealand Treasury and Finance Minister Robertson released a report stating that the Government's surplus had increased from NZ$2 billion to NZ$7.5 billion. The net Government debt had also fallen to 19.2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is still short of its self-imposed Budget Responsibility Rules to keep debt at less than 20% of GDP. The total government revenue also increased from NZ$6.2 billion to NZ$86.5 billion as a result of taxation. However, the total district health board deficit rose to NZ$1 billion while the net Crown debt rose by 0.2% from NZ$57.5 billion in the 2017-2018 financial year to NZ$57.7 billion in 2019.[179][180] In response, National's Economic development spokesman Todd McClay claimed that the Government was not investing enough money in taxpayers and highlighted declining business confidence.[181]

Election resultsEdit

The following table shows the total votes* for Labour, plus parties supporting the Labour-led government. For more details of election results, see the relevant election articles.

Election Parliament Seats* Total votes* Percentage Gain (loss) Seats won* Change Majority
2017 52nd 120 1,305,333 50.36% 63 6*

* 'Votes' means party votes only. 'Seats' means both list and electorate seats.


Significant policies and initiativesEdit

Economic Development, Science and InnovationEdit

Education and WorkforceEdit

  • Made the first year of tertiary education or training free from 1 January 2018[182][183]
  • Increased student allowances and living costs loans by $50 a week effective 1 January 2018[182]
  • Scrapped both National Standards for literacy and numeracy and primary school league tables[184]
  • Free driver training for all secondary school students[7]
  • Raise the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour in 2018 and $20.00 in 2020[182]
  • Establish the Pike River Recovery Agency with an accompanying ministerial portofolio[182] plus a commitment by minister Andrew Little to re-enter Pike River Mine[7]
  • New Mana in Mahi program introduced to encourage employers, through wage subsidies, to take on young beneficiaries[185]
  • Signed a pay equity deal with education support workers to increase pay by 30%[186]


  • Hold a Clean Waters Summit to examine water and lake pollution[182]
  • Introduce a Zero-Carbon Act with the goal of net zero emissions of carbon dioxide by 2050[7]
  • Establish an independent Climate Commission[182][7][187]
  • Set a target of planting one billion trees over the next ten years[188]
  • Re-established the New Zealand Forest Service[7]
  • Ceased tendering any new off-shore oil and gas exploration permits[31][32][33]
  • Phasing out single-use plastic bags within a year of August 2018[189]

Finance and ExpenditureEdit

  • Lower tax rate for small-to-medium businesses to mitigate the effects of raising the minimum wage[182]
  • Repeal and reform the Reserve Bank Act[7]

Foreign Affairs, Defence and TradeEdit

Governance and AdministrationEdit

  • Establish and appoint a person to the Government's new Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
  • Submit an electoral bill to parliament to overturn the number of MPs and remove Maori seats from parliament





Māori AffairsEdit

  • Commit to a target that by 2025 that every student from ECE, Primary, Intermediate and Secondary has Te Reo Maori integrated into their learning
  • Secondary schools give students the chance to choose Te Reo Maori as a main subject
  • Ensure that all early childhood, primary school, and intermediate school teachers are provided with an opportunity to undertake lessons in Te Reo Māori
  • Provide dedicated scholarships to increase the number of Te Reo Maori teachers and ensure that Te Reo Maori is available as an option in all secondary schools

Primary ProductionEdit

Social Services and CommunityEdit

Transport and InfrastructureEdit


2018 Labour Party youth camp sexual assaultsEdit

On March 12, 2018 allegations of multiple sexual assaults at the Young Labour Summer School at Waitawheta Camp in Waihi emerged. It was alleged that a 20-year-old man put his hands down the pants of four sixteen-year-olds on the second night of the camp, which occurred a month earlier. It was reported that there were "mountains of alcohol" present at the camp, and that people under the legal drinking age of eighteen were consuming alcohol. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was not informed of the allegations by party leadership, despite them knowing a month earlier. Support had not been offered to the victims, something Ardern said she was "deeply sorry" for.[221][222] Ardern did not fire any of her party staffers who failed to act on information of the allegations and inform her. Former Prime Minister of the Fifth Labour Government Helen Clark criticised this response, saying "heads would have rolled" if she was at the helm.[223]

Ministerial resignationsEdit

On 24 May 2018, Transport Minister Phil Twyford resigned from his Civil Aviation portfolio after making an unauthorised phone call on a domestic flight as the plane was taking off, a violation of civil aviation laws. The matter had been raised by Opposition Transport spokesperson Judith Collins.[224]

On 24 August, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the removal of Clare Curran from Cabinet, and stripped her of her Open Government and Government Digital Services porfolios. These were reassigned to Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods respectively. Curran's sacking was the result of her failure to disclose that she had held informal meetings with entrepreneur Derek Handley in November 2017 and February 2018, which could have created potential conflicts of interest.[225][226][227] After a poor performance while answering a question from National's spokesperson for Broadcasting Melissa Lee during Question Time, Curran announced that she was stepping down as Minister for Broadcasting. She was to remain as MP for Dunedin-South, and Kris Faafoi resumed her Broadcasting portfolio.[228][229]

On 30 August 2018, Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri “stood aside” from her ministerial portfolios as part of an investigation into an allegation that she assaulted a staff member in her ministerial office. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Ministerial Services was investigating the allegations. Fellow Labour MP Kris Faafoi assumed the role of Acting Minister of Customs while her associate ministerial portfolios were assumed by their lead ministers.[230][231][232] On 20 September 2018, Ardern announced that she had fired Whaitiri from all of her ministerial portfolios. Ardern said that while aspects of the incident were disputed by Whaitiri, an incident involving Whaitiri manhandling and bullying a new staff member "undoubtedly took place". Kris Faafoi took over her portfolio of Customs. Whaitiri is to remain as the MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti.[233][234]

Karel SroubekEdit

In late October and early November 2018, the Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway drew criticism from the opposition National Party for his decision to grant residency to the convicted Czech drug smuggler Karel Sroubek. It subsequently emerged that Sroubek had a lengthy criminal record in both the Czech Republic and New Zealand. The case also attracted considerable media interest in New Zealand and led the Czech government to announce that it would seek Sroubek's extradition.[235][236] In mid-December 2018, Lees-Galloway attributed his decision to grant Sroubek residency to incomplete information provided by Immigration New Zealand about Sroubek's criminal record.[237]

2019 Labour sexual assault allegationsEdit

In early August 2019, several reports emerged about allegations of bullying, sexual harassment, and resignations from the Labour party. Media were told that the formal complaints did not involve sexual assaults.[238][239] On 9 September, the online media outlet The Spinoff published an exclusive report by a 19 year old female Labour Party volunteer alleging that she had been sexually assaulted by a Labour Party staffer.[240] In response to the report, Prime Minister Ardern said that she was repeatedly told by Labour that the complaint was not about sexual assault and that a review by Maria Dew QC will clear up the contradictory claims. The woman has stood by her claims while Labour Party President Nigel Haworth defended his handling of the complaints process.[238][239]

On 11 September, Haworth resigned as Labour Party President following criticism of his handling of the complaints about the male staffer from several Labour Party members including bullying, harassment, and sexual assault. Earlier investigations had exonerated the man of these various claims.[241][242] These sexual assault allegations attracted coverage from several international media including the AFP, The Washington Post, Seven News, The Times, and The Sydney Morning Herald.[242][243] That same day, the National Party's deputy leader Paula Bennett claimed under parliamentary privilege that several of the Prime Minister's senior staff members and a Cabinet minister including Ardern's former chief of staff Mike Munro, current chief press secretary Andrew Campbell, and the director of the Labour leader's office Rob Salmond were aware of the sexual allegations.[244]

On 12 September, the male Labour staffer accused of bullying and sexual assault resigned. He stated that he was cooperating with the Dew Inquiry and denied the allegations against him.[245][246] On 16 September, Prime Minister Ardern announced that Labour would be holding a second inquiry into its response to the sexual assault allegations made against the staffer. Simon Mitchell, the lawyer tasked with leading Labour's investigation into the misconduct, stated that he was unaware of the sexual assault allegations until they were first reported by the media. National Party deputy leader Bennett claimed that the proposed inquiry did not go far enough and alleged that Finance Minister Grant Robertson had been aware of the sexual assault allegations as early as June 2019.[247][248]

List of executive membersEdit

First meeting of the Cabinet of the Sixth Labour Government, 26 October 2017

On 20 October, Jacinda Ardern announced that the Cabinet would consist of 20 members, of which 16 would be from the Labour Party and 4 from New Zealand First. A further five Labour MPs would sit outside of Cabinet, along with three Green MPs. On 27 Jun 2019, a cabinet reshuffle occurred.[130][131]


Portfolio Minister Party Start End
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters NZ First 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Attorney-General David Parker Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Clare Curran Labour 26 October 2017 7 September 2018
Kris Faafoi Labour 7 September 2018 Incumbent
Minister for Child Poverty Reduction Jacinda Ardern Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister for Civil Defence Kris Faafoi Labour 26 October 2017 27 June 2019
Peeni Henare Labour 27 June 2019 Incumbent
Minister for Climate Change James Shaw Green 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister for the Community & Voluntary Sector Peeni Henare Labour 26 October 2017 27 June 2019
Poto Williams Labour 27 June 2019 Incumbent
Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage Green 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Customs Meka Whaitiri Labour 26 October 2017 20 September 2018
Kris Faafoi Labour 20 September 2018 27 June 2019
Jenny Salesa Labour 27 June 2019 Incumbent
Minister of Defence Ron Mark NZ First 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control Winston Peters NZ First 27 February 2018 Incumbent
Minister of Economic Development David Parker Labour 26 October 2017 27 June 2019
Phil Twyford Labour 27 June 2019 Incumbent
Minister of Education Chris Hipkins Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister for the Environment David Parker Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Finance Grant Robertson Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters NZ First 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Health David Clark Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Housing Phil Twyford Labour 26 October 2017 27 June 2019
Megan Woods Labour 27 June 2019 Incumbent
Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Infrastructure Shane Jones NZ First 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Internal Affairs Tracey Martin NZ First 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Justice Andrew Little Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Leader of the House Chris Hipkins Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister for Pacific Peoples William Sio Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of National Security and Intelligence Jacinda Ardern Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister for Pike River Re-Entry Andrew Little Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Police Stuart Nash Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister for Racing Winston Peters NZ First 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Revenue Stuart Nash Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Science and Innovation Megan Woods Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of State Owned Enterprises Winston Peters NZ First 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister for State Services Chris Hipkins Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Statistics James Shaw Green 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Tourism Kelvin Davis Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Trade David Parker Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister of Transport Phil Twyford Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister for Urban Development Phil Twyford Labour 27 June 2019 Incumbent
Minister for Whānau Ora Peeni Henare Labour 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter Green 26 October 2017 Incumbent

Under-Secretaries & Private-SecretariesEdit

Ministry Member of Parliament Role Party Start End
Disarmament and Arms Control Fletcher Tabuteau Under-Secretary NZ First 27 February 2018 Incumbent
Ethnic Communities/Ethnic Affairs Michael Wood Under-Secretary Labour 26 October 2017 27 June 2019
Priyanca Radhakrishnan Private-Secretary Labour 27 June 2019 Incumbent
Foreign Affairs Fletcher Tabuteau Under-Secretary NZ First 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues) Jan Logie Under-Secretary Green 26 October 2017 Incumbent
Local Government Willow-Jean Prime Private-Secretary Labour 27 June 2019 Incumbent
Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau Under-Secretary NZ First 26 October 2017 Incumbent


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