As of Monday (Nov 27), former airline executive Christopher Luxon took the oath as New Zealand’s prime minister, leading a new right-of-center government. The upcoming session of the country’s parliament is anticipated to convene next week, focusing on various policies such as revisiting the central bank’s mandate and considering the reversal of the ban on oil and gas exploration.
The 53-year-old former businessman will lead the country’s conservative coalition after his National Party struck a deal with two smaller parties – libertarian ACT New Zealand and populist New Zealand First – on Friday (Nov 24) following last month’s elections.
New Zealand Governor-General Cindy Kiro, who represents British monarch King Charles III as head of state, swore Luxon in along with his cabinet ministers at Government House in the country’s capital city Wellington.
The swearing-in also marks the end of six years of left-wing governments in New Zealand.
After the swearing-in ceremony, the 53-year-old told reporters the job was an “awesome responsibility.”
He also told TVNZ’s 1News that he is excited about taking the role of a PM. “We’ve got the team, we’ve got the ideas, we’ve got a clear policy program for the next three years,” said the former airline executive.
Luxon said that he will hold his first Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (Nov 28) to quickly finalise a 100-day plan and has planned a visit to Australia before Christmas Day.
A report by Reuters citing the incoming government’s coalition agreements said that they have outlined a number of policy plans including a single mandate for the country’s central bank, a plan to roll back the use of the Maori language and an end to a ban on oil and gas exploration.
The ending of the ban on oil and gas exploration, which the new government plans to do, has prompted the New Zealand Green Party on Monday (Nov 27) to launch a petition to retain it.
“We ask everyone to stand with us to tell this government that the oil and gas ban has to stay,” Green Party co-leader James Shaw said in a statement.
As a part of the coalition agreements, Luxon has reportedly planned to deliver tax cuts and train 500 more police officers within two years. The recently sworn-in PM has also vowed to lessen government bureaucracy which includes a 6.5 per cent cut to the public service.
The decision about how to make the cuts will be up to ministry chief executives, said Luxon, it could be stopping programs, not hiring or laying off some workers.