UPDATED 7.58PM: Labour is pleased to have successfully concluded negotiations with New Zealand First as a critical step to forming a Labour-led progressive Government, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.
“I thank the New Zealand First Party and Leader Winston Peters for agreeing in principle to a coalition arrangement with Labour.
“The negotiations have been courteous, constructive and robust. Throughout, we have focused on our shared values and the policies that can take New Zealand forward.
“We are both committed to forming a strong and durable government that can deal with the many challenges this country faces.
“The Green Party is now undertaking its internal approval process before we confirm final arrangements to form a Labour-led progressive Government. This too has been an excellent process, which I thank James Shaw and his team for.
“This is an exciting day. We aspire to be a government for all New Zealanders and one that will seize the opportunity to build a fairer, better New Zealand.
“We will work hard to ensure New Zealand is once again a world leader, a country we can all be proud of. We said we could do this, we will do this.
“I thank Bill English and acknowledge the service he has given to this country as Prime Minister, and for a hard fought campaign. We both share a commitment to making New Zealand a better place and Bill has left his mark,” says Jacinda Ardern.
NZ First leader Winston Peters has finally revealed he will backing Jacinda Ardern and Labour to form New Zealand's new government, some 26 days after the election.
In an announcement at the Beehive in Wellington this evening, Peters put to bed weeks of speculation regarding the next coalition government.
"We're going to start this and do it right," says Winston to a crowd of journalists at the Beehive tonight.
When asked if he thought Jacinda Ardern was up to the task of Prime Minister, he said he wouldn't have chosen Labour if he didn't think that.
"We had a choice to make whether it was National or Labour for a modified status quo, or for change ... In the end we chose a coalition government with NZ First with Labour Party."
Winston says NZ First made its decision 15 minutes before getting in the car and heading to the Beehive to make this evening's announcement.
"Our choice today relates to how best we mitigate, not worsen the effects on New Zealanders," Mr Peters said in his opening remarks before he had the announcement.
"Far too many New Zealanders have come today to view today's capitalism not as their friend but as their foe, and I have to say they are not all wrong."
"This is a decision made by New Zealand First and it's their decision, not that of their leader."
"Our perception was that the majority of people in this country did want change. We have responded to that."
"In the end we chose a coalition of government of New Zealand First and the New Zealand Labour Party."
He said a specific role for himself had yet to be decided.
"If I choose to be the deputy Prime Minister then that was made clear to me, and if I choose to take portfolios then that will be discussed with the Prime Minister and that's all I want to say."
He said the New Zealand First relationship with the Labour government would be different to the Greens.
"They've got a confidence and supply agreement with the Labour Party, we've got a coalition agreement."
Regional development would be key to addressing the infrastructure deficit, Mr Peters said.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
• New Zealand has a Labour-led government
• Winston Peters has announced NZ First will go with Labour
• Peters did not tell Labour's Jacinda Ardern what he had decided before making the announcement
• Bill English took a "broad agreement" between National and NZ First to his caucus and board to get sign off this morning.
• The Green Party are holding a special general meeting tonight - which may indicate that Peters is swinging towards the left.