Winston Peters, the leader of the anti-immigration NZ First party, announced in a live TV broadcast that he would support Arden in a coalition government, after September’s election returned a hung parliament.
Arden, 37, will become New Zealand’s third female leader, speaking after the announcement said said it was an “absolute honor and a privilege … to form a government for all New Zealanders.”
Ardern said Labour had found “true allies in parliament” — NZ First and the Greens — with whom a coalition could be formed to deliver the party’s vision for the country.
The announcement ended almost a month of uncertainty, and weeks of negotiations, conducted by Peters with Ardern and the incumbent Prime Minister Bill English’s National party over who could form the next government.
His decision was greeted with shock and elation in Labour Party headquarters, CNN affiliate Radio New Zealand reported. Peters did not tell Ardern or English who he would back before announcing it live on television.
“I joined with New Zealand as we collectively learned the news together,” Ardern said, adding she “enjoyed the theater” of Peters’ announcement.