Jacinda Ardern

Acceptance Speech and Press Conference - October 19, 2017

Jacinda Ardern
October 19, 2017— New Zealand
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ARDERN: Welcome and thank you for all your patience. I want it to be noted I've only left you here for 10 minutes though. I want to start by saying that it is an absolute honor and a privilege to have the ability as the leader of the New Zealand Labour Party to form a government for all New Zealanders. I also want to say that this has been a campaign that has been robust and rigorous, and I want to thank Bill English for the role that he has played in that campaign but also as prime minister and as serving in the past as New Zealand's Finance Minister. Mr. English has already called me this evening and acknowledged that for the National Party, negotiations have now concluded. I personally have always believed that members of parliament come to this place in order to do good and to serve their country as best as they can. Mr. English is an absolute example of that and I want to acknowledge it.

These negotiations have been robust, but there has been more that has united the parties then has divided. Labour has always believed that government should be a partner in ensuring an economy that works and delivers for all New Zealanders we also believe in a government that works and delivers for all New Zealanders. We also believe in a government that looks after its environment and that ultimately looks after its people, and I believe that Labour has found true allies in Parliament to deliver on that.

I want to thank New Zealand first for the decision that they have made. I know it has been significant and difficult. I want to thank them for the time and consideration they put into the negotiations, and I can confirm they were indeed dominated by a discussion around policy and ensuring that consensus existed on the issues that were of the greatest importance to each of us. They formed a solid foundation on which we will now build a coalition government.

I also in the same vein want to thank and acknowledge the New Zealand Green Party. We've also engaged in a robust policy negotiation with them also. They have engaged us on areas of consensus and on areas where we have taken different views. I acknowledge that they are now undertaking a process with their party which I respect and we will await the outcome of that to confirm that together we will indeed have successfully change the government.

It is my intention that over the next 24 hours we will conclude the final remaining areas of our agreement that need to be completed for both respective parties. Also, tomorrow afternoon the New Zealand Labor Party will hold a caucus that will enable us to carry out an election for cabinet positions for Labour. Early next week we will be in a position to sign and release the agreements that the New Zealand Labour Party has negotiated both with New Zealand first and with the Green Party. Later in the week, we will confirm and release ministerial portfolios more broadly and a swearing-in ceremony will take place.

I want to conclude again by saying I feel extraordinarily honored and privileged to be in the position to form a government with a Labour- with Labour at the lead. I want to thank all those who gave Labour support throughout the election and through this period of negotiation. We campaigned hard on issue that we believe strongly on and now we take very seriously the responsibility that we have to deliver on them. [Question from the audience] New Zealand first will hold four cabinet positions. They will also have one parliamentary Under Secretary.

[Questions from the audience] Mr. Peters has been offered the role as you've heard earlier tonight. He is still considering whether or not he will take that role.

[Questions from the audience] As I said ministerial portfolios will be released in due course. I want to make sure I honor the process that the Green Party is going through at the moment. They're discussing their agreements I'll leave it to two James Shaw to announce the outcome of that and the nature of some elements of that agreement.

[Questions from the audience] I can confirm they will have ministerial portfolios.

[Questions from the audience] I want to honor the process the Greens are going through. We will of course be releasing those agreements in due course, but I don't want to undermine the process the Greens are currently going through, but I can confirm they have been offered ministerial portfolios.

[Questions from the audience] Again I do want to make sure that the Green Party has the ability to announce the agreement that they have, but again I'm confirming they have ministerial portfolios.

[Questions from the audience] Oh I'm satisfied that throughout this campaign the Greens strong message was that they wanted to change the government. We are now in the position to do that. Of course I respect the process they are undertaking, but my expectation is that we are together changing the government. Alex.

[Questions from the audience] Oh certainly we've had a conversation and we are very close to finalizing those ministerial portfolios, but again I want to make sure that we're in the position to the complete those conversations over the next 24 hours.

[Questions from the audience] Certainly there's an interest a strong interest from New Zealand firsts in the area of ensuring that our regions are well cared for, well supported, have the jobs and infrastructure that they deserve, it's a value that Labour shares, but again we'll be confirming those portfolios in due course.

[Questions from the audience] I enjoyed the- the theater of being with everyone at the same time as I joined with New Zealand as we collectively learnt the information together again. Again I felt an overwhelming sense of being incredibly honored, privileged and humbled.

[Questions from the audience] I've never won a World Cup so I wouldn't know.

[Questions from the audience] My view is that we'll have a partnership that will continue to learn from one another.

[Questions from the audience] Yeah, look the areas that all camp- parties campaigned on will feature heavily and their respective agreements and it was obvious at the conclusion of the campaign those areas where we had common ground, an economy that delivers for all New Zealanders, an environment that we're protecting and preserving, making sure that all New Zealanders have access to the services they need. For each respective party there's a different focus, a different set of priorities and you'll see those reflected in the agreements that we produce.

[Questions from the audience] Absolutely. Through the negotiation program- process it's become even more apparent to me that there is an extraordinary amount of common ground between us on what we wish to deliver for all New Zealanders.

[Questions from the audience] What will have been clear through the campaign is that we all agreed that there is a housing crisis, we all agreed there was a role for the state to play, and we all agree we need to build that scale of houses, so yes that is what we remain committed to.

[Questions from the audience] It's certainly in an any negotiation concessions are made my role is to ensure that I only made concessions in areas that the New Zealand Labour Party would feel comfortable with and what we're aligned with our values and principles. What I needed to hold on to as leader was making sure that in every case we were holding on to our ultimate goals. You'll see when those agreements are released how we've managed to do that. Sorry, sorry.

[Questions from the audience] Again, we had a robust conversation about policy direction. We all agreed, every single party agreed that in New Zealand, our rivers are dying. We all agreed that we needed to take action. The methodology we wanted to use- some- differed in some areas, but you'll see from the policies the agreements that we release in the policies within them that we've have found a path forward collectively.

[Questions from the audience] My intention is to make a trip to Australia as soon as I'm able.

[Questions from the audience] Barry's just the loudest so I'm just going to-

[Questions from the audience] I've always had respect for Mr. Peters as a politician, and throughout this process I've been able to see and have confirmed that he has been absolutely focused on issues he's campaigned on. The vast majority of these negotiations have been about the things he wants to deliver for New Zealanders. I absolutely respect that. We've found a pathway forward to do that and I have no doubt that we will work together in a respectful relationship and with the goal of delivering for New Zealanders.

[Questions from the audience] I would absolutely agree that it's not delivering for the people of New Zealand, that we need to make sure that we're an active government working alongside people to ensure that they are having all of their needs met. We need to make sure they can access government services when they need them, that they are supported to find work, and that we are being active ensuring that we have greater job creation in this country, that we don't just simply allow New Zealand's economy to be reliant on a housing market and simple population growth. We're ambitious that our economy can do better.

[Questions from the audience] Certainly, there was a long conversation about what we wanted to achieve together in that area. You'll know that we had a policy that we went to the election on but I'll leave it to the time that we were released the agreements to see the final outcome of those conversations.

[Questions from the audience] It'll be the same as what we campaigned on.

[Questions from the audience] It's currently my intention.

[Questions from the audience] I've unfortunately, didn't have the ability to take a call from Bill Shorten and you'll forgive me for not having looked at my phone for a wee while.

[Questions from the audience] You'll already be familiar with our policy and that's what we're sticking with.

[Questions from the audience] You will see from the final release of our agreements where there has been a different view taken from other parties, but by and large, I'm very comfortable that we have focused on the in doubt comes that Labour has always wanted to achieve be it clean waterways, be it more housing, be it focusing on issues like child poverty, on each of the principles we've campaigned on we've stuck to it.

[Questions from the audience] We've had a policy for some time that when it comes to critical infrastructure, when it comes to existing housing that we needed to make take a much more proactive effort to curb foreign ownership and that remains the case. We've always had a policy which means that if it's a significant asset over a particular size that yes that should be curtailed.

[Questions from the audience] That is not being demonstrated as necessary at this time. We're in a period of renegotiation for that agreement and we'll be using that period of renegotiation to deliver an outcome that will ensure that New Zealanders are looked after in that agreement. At the moment, the government made no effort to negotiate agreement that allowed New Zealanders to ensure that they can protect the asset that they're being unable to attain, which is housing.

[Questions from the audience] We have tried to ensure that we have been as proportional as possible in the way that we have treated ministerial portfolios, but again I don't want to undermine the process that the Green Party is currently undertaking. I imagine that they'll be keen and eager to release that in due course.

[Questions from the audience] Again as I've already said, the nature of the agreement that's a question that's being asked, I want to make sure that the Green Party had the opportunity to take that agreement to the … which is currently underway.

[Questions from the audience] OTHER POLITICIAN: No that's something we'll look at in you know over the coming weeks. We campaigned with a specific some changes we've obviously had discussions about those during the negotiations and we'll get underway as soon as we possibly can.

[Questions from the audience] ARDERN: … mind taking some of my understanding of some of that work is already underway.

[Questions from the audience] You'll be aware that Pike River and a … tree was a priority for the Green Party, for the Labor Party, and the New Zealand first party, so absolutely.

[Questions from the audience] I'm from Lawrenceville. There's no chance that I will ever live in a goldfish bowl. I expect that my family, my friends, my colleagues and the New Zealand Labour Party indeed our members and our supporters will continually keep me grounded and remind me why it is I first ran for politics, in politics and why it is that they elected me to be Prime Minister.

[Questions from the audience] Again we're currently finalizing the final details of those agreements, but we've certainly set ourselves some high expectations in that regard.

[Questions from the audience] the agreements have not been finalized but certainly the budget responsibility rules have been top of our mind in these negotiations.

[Questions from the audience] Now our understanding is that where we currently are with most of those agreements that those shouldn't undermine those. We have been explicit that when it comes to the Korea free trade agreement yes, there is an element of renegotiation that will be required in order to fulfill our policy of making sure that we ban foreign ownership of existing homes in New Zealand, so that is a period of- a bit of renegotiation that we will need to undertake.

[Questions from the audience] Again we have a set of criteria that relates to where we consider that to be critical infrastructure.

[Questions from the audience] The foreign buyer ban on residential housing. On that regard, we've always said that we would prioritize putting in place that ban on foreign ownership of existing houses and that has not changed.

[Questions from the audience] Yeah absolutely. I would say that labor consistently delivered a strong and robust economic outlook for New Zealand. We delivered nine budget surpluses, we have the strongest continuous economic growth since World War II, we ensured that at all times we were fiscally prudent and we were strong economic managers. We did that whilst in a coalition whilst in a competence and supply agreement with New Zealand first - that will continue.

[Questions from the audience] We've- we've always said that we believe there is room to look at opportunities outside of the existing site for Auckland’s port. We've always maintained it as a Labour Party and we continue to maintain them.

[Questions from the audience] I would say that what has now been formed has been formed on the basis of the majority of New Zealand's votes. Good everyone. We’ll see you again soon.