WELLINGTON (Reuters) -Negotiations between three parties hoping to form the next New Zealand government are continuing, but because they are likely to stretch into next week, the powers of caretaker ministers would be extended, the current government said on Friday.
The conservative National Party won the largest share of votes at last month’s general election but needs the support of both right-wing ACT New Zealand and the populist New Zealand First Parties to form a majority government.
Following the release of final results on Nov. 3, negotiations have ramped but there is still no timeframe for when these will concluded by.
National Party leader and prime minister-elect Christopher Luxon told 1News earlier Friday that negotiations were progressing well and all party leaders wanted to make sure they move as quickly as they can.
New Zealand operates a mixed member proportional system, which means coalition governments are the norm and historically it takes roughly a month for a government to be formed but can take longer.
Currently, the government is being operated by the former Labour government, which is operating in caretaker mode. However, ministerial warrants – the permissions to allow ministers to do their jobs – expire on Saturday, and the Governor-General has been asked to reappoint them.
“The simplest solution is to roll over the current caretaker arrangements for a little bit longer,” Chris Hipkins, caretaker Prime Minister said in statement.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson will also be sworn in as Foreign Affairs Minister as the previous minister, Nanaia Mahuta, is no longer in parliament.
Luxon has previously said he would like to attend the APEC meeting in San Francisco next week but the priority was forming a government.
(Additional reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney;Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Lincoln Feast)