New Zealand's PM-designate makes climate change priority
October 20 2017 11:47 AM
New Zealand
New Zealand's Labour party leader Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media after her first caucus meeting as Prime Minister-elect at Parliament in Wellington on Friday.


New Zealand's prime minister-designate Jacinda Ardern is making climate change a priority as she prepares to lead the country's new coalition government.
"This will include a zero carbon act, an independent climate change commission and making sure we have an all-gases, all-sectors Emissions Trading Scheme," the 37-year-old Labour
leader declared after a first caucus meeting.
On Thursday, Winston Peters - the leader of New Zealand First, whose party held the balance of power after the September 23 election produced an inconclusive result - declared his support for a Labour-led government.
While the outgoing National Party took home 44.4% of the vote in the election, Labour received 36.9% and the Green Party, which signed an agreement last year pledging to work together with Labour, received 6.3%, bringing the tally of the Labour/Green
bloc to 43.2%.
The right-wing populist NZ First emerged as kingmaker, picking up 7.2% of the vote.
Ardern gave a glimpse about what the country can expect from the new coalition, with policy agreements to be released early next week. 
This included a referendum on legalising cannabis for personal use, to be held within the upcoming term as part of the agreement with the Greens.
The prime minister-elect lined said NZ First will hold four positions in the new cabinet, and the Green Party will hold three positions outside of cabinet.
The Labour-led government will be sworn in next Thursday.

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