The future conservative Prime Minister of New Zealand revealed on Friday, November 24, the composition of his coalition government which will see two political rivals succeed each other in the post of Deputy Prime Minister over the next three years.

Nearly six weeks after the general election that ended six years of center-left Labor government, the new Prime Minister, Christopher Luxon, and his National Party have formed a coalition with the conservative ACT Party and the populist New Zealand First party . The deputy prime minister will change halfway through the government’s three-year term. Winston Peters, of the New Zealand First party, will initially hold this position before handing over to David Seymour, the leader of the ACT party.

This setup could, however, prove explosive, with the two men – Mr Peters, 78, and Mr Seymour, 40 – having insulted each other on several occasions. Earlier this year, Mr Seymour called Mr Peters “the least trustworthy person in New Zealand politics”. The two men had previously feuded severely across social media in 2020, with Mr Peters telling Mr Seymour: “I think you would last ten seconds in the ring against me. »

Old animosities put aside

On Friday, they appeared eager to put aside their old animosities. Peters, who will also serve as foreign minister, said he shook hands with his ex-rival and that the two men were learning to trust each other. Mr Peters previously served as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister from 2017 to 2020 in Labour’s Jacinda Ardern coalition government.

Future Prime Minister Christopher Luxon was quick to dismiss any idea of ​​friction between the two men, saying his government will leverage “the talents of these two leaders.” “We did something historic. We have three parties in a coalition government,” he told reporters in Parliament. “The fact that they are each eighteen months old is important. I look forward to working with them. »

Mr Luxon’s National Party, which won 48 of Parliament’s 123 seats, needed the support of the conservative ACT party and the populist New Zealand First party.

Former Air New Zealand CEO Mr Luxon will be sworn in on Monday, and the new Parliament will sit for the first time on December 5.