Ardern rules out Peters as PM


Labour’s new leader Jacinda Ardern has ruled out any post-election deal with New Zealand First that would allow Winston Peters to be prime minister.
“I’m happy to rule that out now, I’m not willing to negotiate on that particular question,” she told RNZ today.
Ms Ardern’s predecessor, Andrew Little, had also ruled it out.
Current polling shows NZ First holding the balance of power after the election.
That has led to speculation that Mr Peters could demand to be prime minister in a coalition government.
Earlier, Ms Ardern said she would need 72 hours to take stock before revealing any future Labour policy plans and she intends to use every second of it.
Quizzed about tax policies and new campaign slogans yesterday the new Labour leader was not giving anything away.
“Everyone’s trying to move forward my 72 hours. I’m taking the full number,” she joked.
“I’m not going to be making any further comment on anything that might be related to future policy announcements, ruling things in or out, I’m going to take my full 72 hours.”
But even today when her clock runs down Ms Ardern warned she would not be pulling out a full policy agenda.
With policy and campaign direction being reviewed she urged “a little patience”.
Instead she is going to offer a “bit of direction of travel” in the coming days.
That includes a new campaign slogan.
The fresh approach promised by former leader Andrew Little will be scrapped in favour of a change in direction but it would not be “a change in direction”.
Ms Ardern has also ruled out a play on words.
“Ardern up? You know what, if I repeated that too many times I would definitely make a mistake,” she said.
However, she has kept one of her first promises, giving her predecessor a senior role in her shadow cabinet.
Andrew Little has been ranked seventh in the party’s caucus and will take on the justice, small business and ACC portfolios in addition to his existing new economy role.
Despite her other responsibilities growing, Ms Ardern has taken on the security and intelligence portfolio from Mr Little and has held on to the children and arts, culture and heritage roles.
“It’s fair to say children and children’s issues is one of the reasons I am in Parliament,” she said.
“(I have) deeply held convictions around the need for New Zealand to be world leading on child well-being and I believe we can do that.”
Ms Ardern will be helped in the portfolios she has retained by Carmel Sepuloni and Grant Robertson as associates.
New deputy leader Kelvin Davis has swapped places with Mr Little in the caucus line-up, jumping from seven to two.
He has also sought help from colleagues in his portfolios.
Adrian Rurawhe will become the party’s spokesman on Treaty of Waitangi negotiations while Nanaia Mahuta will be an associate on Maori development. NZN

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