Former Prime Minister Helen Clark is confident the new incoming coalition government will work.

Speaking to Early Edition's Rachel Smalley Clark said there was no reason for her to doubt the pairing of New Zealand First and Labour wouldn't be anything but successful.

"I am very confident that Jacinda will find it entirely possible to work well with Winston Peters," said Clark from London.

"And let me say for the record he was my Minister of Foreign affairs for three years. I can say that on no occasion did New Zealand First let us down in the business of Government."


"We had a very, very functional and good working relationship so I think it's now for Jacinda to continue on as she's done to date. She's successfully negotiated with Winston Peters as she has with her, they have a deal, the Greens are a part of that deal, they can make it work," she said.

Clark said the incoming goverment would be different from National because it had an explicit commitment to a fairer New Zealand including addressing key issues such as housing, mental health and water quality.

"They have challenges but I'm absolutely confident they will be focused on fixing those problems."

"Jacinda, Winston Peters and the Greens, they inherit a lot of problems. Who would have thought in our lifetimes we would see home ownership in New Zealand fall to 50 percent. Who would've thought we'd see the degree of homelessness. Who'd have thought we would see what's happening to our water and the level of pollution."

"So they have challenges but I'm absolutely confident that they will be focussed on fixing those problems."

She was confident the coalition grouping would continue to commit to a strong economy.

Clark this morning also reserved praise for defeated prime minister Bill English.

"For the record you would be inhuman if you didn't feel sorry for Bill English who did fight a pretty strong campaign."


She said Bill English has had an outstandibng parliamentary career, spending nine as a cabinet minister and the last year as the country's leader.

"He should hold his head high."

Clark said it was an exciting time in politics with a new generation of politicians coming to the fore world-wide.

"We've just seen a 31-year-old elected in Austria, Jacinda's 37, the president of France is 39 - this is a new age and I think it's really exciting."

She said she was confident Ardern would be make a "good fist" of the country's top job.

"I think she's a natural communicator. I think she exudes empathy with people. I don't think anyone could really take offence in any way at Jacinda. She's very courteous, she's reasonable but she's also firm. She knows where she wants to lead first the Labour Party and now New Zealand.

I am very confident that she is going to make a good fist of this."

"I'm always there for Jacinda and she only has to pick up the phone," Clark told Smalley.