New Zealand’s newly-elected parliament will open its first session today.
This follows last week’s swearing in of Christopher Luxon’s conservative government. Luxon’s center-right National Party formed a coalition government with the populist New Zealand First and the libertarian ACT New Zealand, ending six years of left-wing government.
Luxon has promised an end to liberal policies, including a ban on fossil fuel exploration, the use of Maori language in public services, the world’s first anti-smoking law and the central bank’s mandate to combat unemployment.
The new government will try to undo much of Jacinda Ardern’s legacy, which included a focus on wellbeing before economic growth, combatting climate change and reconciliation with the country’s native population. Luxon will likely reduce overall government expenditure and pivot toward free market-driven economic growth.
However, given that his two coalition partners are historically fierce rivals, Luxon could struggle to maintain cohesion as the two parties’ leaders take turns as deputy prime ministers. In addition, The coalition’s radical shift in policy objectives will likely anger many in the population and could lead to a return to a left-wing government in three years, when general elections are due again. The Green Party has already announced that it would re-introduce the ban on fossil fuels as soon as it will return to government.
David is a Senior Analyst focusing on East Asia. He primarily writes on economic, political, and social issues and how they relate to the geopolitical environment.