NZ First's agreement with Labour includes a $1 billion a year fund for regional development projects - including a "Billion Trees Planting Programme" to plant 100 million trees a year.

It is one of the major policy gets for NZ First in a coalition agreement which also includes increasing the minimum wage to $20 an hour so the final increase takes effect in April 2021.

It will also include an overhaul of the Overseas Investment Act and a comprehensive register of foreign-owned land and housing.

Read more
Labour-NZ First coalition: At a glance


The $1 billion regional fund will include a feasibility study on the options for moving the Ports of Auckland - but while that will give "serious consideration" to Whangarei's Northport there is no firm commitment for that.

The agreement also sets out plans to re-establish the NZ Forestry Service - and locate it in the regions. Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said there would be significant investment in forestry.

There is also a big boost for Police - a commitment to add 1800 new police officers over three years and establish a Criminal Cases Review Commission, which would likely look at potential miscarriages of justice.

There are also gains for SuperGold Card holders, such as an annual free health check for seniors, including an eyecheck. The young will also benefit with health checks for all Year Nine students and free doctors' visits for under 14s.

On reforms to the Reserve Bank Act, Ardern said the use of employment figures as one of the criteria the Reserve Bank took into account was planned. It would also look at wider reforms.

NZ First leader Winston Peters has also hauled back some of Labour's plans - including a softening of Labour's policy to bring agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Labour had also proposed getting rid of government subsidies for irrigation, but the agreement states that existing Crown irrigation commitments will be honoured.

The changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme will mean that it will be for a new Climate Commission to determine whether agriculture should be part of the scheme - and if it does then farmers will initially be responsible for 5 per cent of their emissions - rather than the 10 per cent under Labour's policy. All revenue from that would also be recycled back into agriculture to help develop innovation and for additional forestry planting.


Ardern said that change was forced by NZ First.

NZ First's agreement with Labour includes a $1 billion a year fund for regional developments projects. Photo / Mark Mitchell
NZ First's agreement with Labour includes a $1 billion a year fund for regional developments projects. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The agreement also contains a firm commitment to keep eligibility for national superannuation at 65 years old - and a new "smart card" for the SuperGold Card.

Labour's plans to impose a water levy on all commercial users have also been scrapped at least for the next three years - but water bottlers will face a royalty on exports of bottled water.

On the Kermadecs Ocean Sanctuary, the two parties have agreed to work with Maori and other holders of fishing quota in the area "to resolve outstanding issues" in a way that is satisfactory to both Labour and NZ First.

NZ First has also secured a new "waka jumping" bill to cover the cases of MPs who leave or are kicked out of their party to either join another party or remain in Parliament as an independent MP.

And Peters has also put on hold David Carter's plans for a "parliamentary palace" - a new parliamentary office block behind Parliament House

There are no specific targets to reduce immigration, but the parties have agreed to "pursue" their respective policies to ensure work visas are given out to those only in areas of genuine skills shortages and to cut down on "low quality" international education courses.

Both parties have also committed to re-entry to Pike River Mine.

The agreement could also affect Act leader David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill - it will allow a conscience vote for MPs on NZ First's proposal for a referendum on that issue before the bill can take effect, if passed.

The portfolio allocations will put two critical international portfolios into the hands of NZ First - Foreign Affairs and Defence.

The portfolios NZ First's four ministers will hold are Foreign Affairs, Infrastructure, Regional Economic Development, Internal Affairs, Seniors, Defence, Veterans' Affairs, Children, Forestry, State Owned Enterprises, Racing, Associate Finance, Associate Education and an Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Regional Economic Development.

Peters is expected to take the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs portfolios, and possibly also Racing - a favourite of his.

Deputy leader Ron Mark is likely to take Defence while Shane Jones is set to get control of the $1 billion regional fund through the Regional Economic Development portfolio.

Tracey Martin is likely to take Children - a portfolio Ardern has taken a personal interest in - as well as Associate Education.