New Zealand National Party prepared to join forces with NZ First to get into power

FILE PHOTO: Christopher Luxon, Leader of the National Party, speaks at the New Zealand National Party’s election campaign launch in Auckland, New Zealand, September 3, 2023. REUTERS/David Rowland/File Photo

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand's National Party leader said on Monday he is prepared to work with the populist New Zealand First if there are numbers needed to form a majority after the election.

New Zealand is due to elect a new government on Oct. 14. The centre-right National Party is currently leading the polls but is unlikely to be able to govern without the support of at least one smaller party. Historically, it has joined forces with the right-wing ACT party.

Leader Christopher Luxon said in a video posted to social media that his preference was to form a strong and stable two-party coalition government between National and ACT.

However, he added he would be prepared to form a coalition with New Zealand First if that would get his party into power.

Coalitions are the norm under New Zealand's electoral system and only once since the system was introduced in 1996 has a party been able to govern alone.

Leader of New Zealand First Winston Peters is a one-time National Party member and his party has previously been a coalition partner in both Labour and National-led governments.

(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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