Close this search box.

Your Hub for NZ News

Frenemies: ACT Party and NZ First

In brief
  • Both parties vow to scrap race based policies, but there are some differences. 
  • ACT Party says they refuse to accept NZ First in Cabinet. 
  • NZ First is benefiting from Peters courting the anti-mandate “Freedom vote”. 
  • National’s Chris Luxon has not said how he will manage a coalition between the three if necessary to form a government. 

Same, but different

Two minor parties that may find themselves in a coalition Government alongside National are ACT and NZ First

Frenemies: ACT Party and NZ First - Centrist
For voters concerned about co-governance and wealth taxes, either party may be a good bet.

Broadly speaking, NZ First is strongly nationalist and is traditionally known as being tough on immigration with policies and state run programs favoured by older Kiwis. ACT is more sceptical of government power, but otherwise they share a lot of similarities when it comes to key issues. The electron has also exposed some rifts between the two parties. 

Where they are in agreement

Most importantly, both parties strongly reject co-governance in all its forms along with “partnership” rhetoric. Both vow to scrap co-governance themed legislation including Three Waters. NZ First leader Winston Peters talks of co-governance as “apartheid”. ACT wants a referendum held on the Treaty as they say it’s been misinterpreted. 

Both parties also favour reducing the current size of government and both are against repeated calls for wealth taxes to be imposed on Kiwis.  

On crime, both advocate for an approach that puts victims ahead of offenders. Both vow to scrap the Human Rights Commission

Both Peters and ACT’s David Seymour are of mixed Māori and Pākehā descent.

However, while it is almost guaranteed ACT will be in Parliament, NZ First’s return is much less certain.

Personal feud

Peters and Seymour have a personal dislike of each other. ACT has run attack ads against NZ First. Peters has campaigned against Seymour in Epsom – Seymour’s own electorate.  

Freedom vote

Winston Peters walkabout of the anti COVID mandate protest camp in Wellington in 2022 is now paying dividends as it would seem many of the so-called “Freedom voters” are  getting behind NZ First. Peters is calling for an expanded inquiry into the Government’s handling of the COVID pandemic response. 

In contrast, a recent interview of Seymour with Plunkett has not helped as Seymour waffled over why he seemingly snubbed anti-mandate protesters at the time. Seymour claimed there were credible threats made by a tiny minority that he may have been kidnapped had he walked amongst the protesters.

In the final weeks before the election, ACT’s support, while substantial, has softened somewhat and there’s widespread opinion that some of that ground has been lost to NZ First.

Working together

NZ First supported Labour in 2017 to form a government, but will not do so again. Peters was seen as holding Ardern’s Labour Party in check during the time he was Deputy Prime Minister.

Seymour says he is ruling out working with NZ First in a coalition government with NZ First in Cabinet. Meanwhile NZ First has polled above the critical 5% in several recent polls. Nothing is certain, but it appears they will be heading back to Parliament in October.

For his part, Luxon has not made comments on managing the friction between the two potential coalition partners. In Luxon’s bid to appease the middle, he ruled out a lot of ACT policies like abolishing the Zero Carbon Act. Seymour has responded by threatening to only enter a confidence arrangement if National doesn’t give ACT partnership in governing.

This is an updated version of a story that originally ran on 19 February 2023.

Enjoyed this story? Share it around.​

Notify of
1 Comment
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Read More


Sign up for our free newsletter

Receive curated lists of news links and easy-to-digest summaries from independent, alternative and mainstream media about issues affect New Zealanders.