New Zealand opposition leader Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday (Oct 10) ruled out giving Winston Peters a stint as prime minister if she forms a government with the populist “kingmaker”. Ardern and her conservative rival Prime Minister Bill English are both in coalition talks with Peters, who holds the balance of power after the country’s Sept 23 election ended in a deadlock. There has been speculation that Peters could demand a year in the prime minister’s role as the price of his support, with some seeing it as the 72-year-old’s last chance for a shot at the top job.
ACT MP David Seymour, a long-time critic of Peters, said this week that the New Zealand First leader “(wants) to be immortalised, and that requires being PM”.
Ardern, who revived the fortunes of the centre-left Labour Party during the campaign, described the suggestion as “ludicrous” and said it would not happen on her watch.
The 37-year-old said her discussions with Peters had been focused on policy issues and the possibility of forming a stable coalition government, not sharing the prime ministership.