The Institute has been conducting research into political party agreements since MMP. Our interest is in those agreements mentioned in the ‘Speech from the Throne’, being the speech the Governor-General makes at the start of the parliamentary term.

Political parties make these agreements with a view to forming government. The formation of government is a political process (managed by the political parties) while the appointment of government is a legal process (managed by the Governor-General). The political process starts with the date of the election and ends with the appointment of government.

This blog has now been updated and is as at 25 September 2020. Thank you to all of you who have helped us find the agreements. Figure 1, directly below, provides an overview of the length of each agreement. A pdf copy of each agreement can be found on the tables below.

List of Tables of Political Party Agreements since 1996

  1. Table 1 lists the 5 coalition agreements,
  2. Table 2 lists the 13 confidence and supply agreements (# there is one further verbal agreement mentioned in the ‘Speech from the Throne’, but this was never written up),
  3. Table 3 lists two co-operation agreements that are mentioned in the ‘Speech from the Throne’ but are neither coalition agreements nor confidence and supply agreements,
  4. Table 4 lists one agreement that we could find that was made between a political party in power but outside the formation period.
  5. Table 5 lists the agreements made between political parties that were not in power at the time.

Missing:
(a) A good quality pdf of the 10 December 1996 coalition agreement between National and NZ First, ideally signed (see Table 1 below).
(b) A good quality pdf of the 6 December 1999 coalition agreement between Labour and Alliance (see Table 1 below).
(c) None of the agreements we have attached include pen signatures. If you have a copy of an agreement which the parties actually signed, we would appreciate the opportunity to replace it with the copy we have currently uploaded. The only exception was a 2010 update of a confidence and supply agreement, signed by Hon John Key.

Box 1, further below, contains relevant excerpts from the Cabinet Manual 2017.

This data and our analysis of it will form the basis for a series of working papers and a think piece that we are hoping to publish in the next few weeks.

Thank you, from the team at the McGuinness Institute.

 

Table 1: Coalition Agreements forming Government [5]

Date Major Political Party Minor Political Party Title of Agreement Link
10 December 1996NationalNew Zealand FirstThe 1996 coalition agreement between National and New Zealand Firsthttps://www.scribd.com/document/361348419/The-Coalition-Agreement-1996
6 December 1999LabourAllianceThe coalition agreement [?]https://www.nzherald.co.nz/election-1999/news/article.cfm?c_id=717&objectid=104688
8 August 2002LabourProgressiveCoalition Agreement between the Labour and Progressive Coalition Parties in Parliament https://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/default/files/ACF3F.pdf
17 October 2005LabourProgressiveCoalition Agreement: Labour and Progressive Parties in ParliamentProvided by the Labour Party: Coalition_Labour_Progressive_2005
24 October 2017LabourNew Zealand FirstCoalition Agreement: New Zealand Labour Party & New Zealand Firsthttps://www.parliament.nz/media/4486/362429780labourandnewzealand
firstcoalitionagreement.pdf

 

 

Table 2: Confidence and Supply Agreements forming Government [13]

Notes:
# The Green Party supported the Coalition Government on confidence and supply issues but no written agreement was prepared. It is therefore included in the list below but not on the graph above. (Source: Parliamentary Library, Personal Communication).

Date Major Political Party Minor Political Party Title of Agreement Link
1999#LabourGreenAlthough there was some form of verbal agreement, it was never written up.Although there was some form of verbal agreement, it was never written up.
8 August 2002Labour/ProgressiveUnited FutureAgreement for Confidence and Supply between the Labour/Progressive Government and the United Future Parliamentary Caucus https://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/default/files/conf%20and
%20supply%20govt%20and%20UF.pdf
17 October 2005LabourNew Zealand FirstConfidence and Supply Agreement with New Zealand First https://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/default/files/NZFirst.pdf
17 October 2005LabourUnited FutureConfidence and Supply Agreement with United Futurehttps://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/default/files/United.pdf
14 November 2008NationalUnited FutureConfidence and Supply Agreement with United Futurehttps://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/0811/NationalUF_agreement.pdf
16 November 2008NationalACTNational-ACT confidence and supply agreement
Updated 17 August 2010, see link on the right:
https://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/0811/NationalAct_Agreement.pdf

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/default/files/Updated_Confidence_
and_Supply_Agreement.pdf
16 November 2008NationalMāori PartyRelationship and Confidence and Supply Agreement between the National Party and the Māori Party https://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/0811/NationalMaori_Party_agreement.pdf
5 December 2011NationalACTConfidence and Supply Agreement with ACT New Zealandhttps://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1112/NationalACT_Confidence_
and_Supply_Agreement.pdf
5 December 2011NationalUnited FutureConfidence and Supply Agreement with United Future New Zealandhttps://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1112/United_Future_Confidence_
and_Supply_Agreement.pdf
11 December 2011NationalMāori PartyRelationship Accord and Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Māori Party (including Schedule A)
https://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1112/Maori_Party
_agreement11_Dec.pdf


https://img.scoop.co.nz
/media/pdfs/1112/Appendix_1.pdf

29 September 2014NationalACT2014 Confidence and Supply Agreement with ACT New Zealand https://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1409/2014_Confidence_and
_Supply_Agreement__ACT.pdf
29 September 2014NationalUnited Future2014 Confidence and Supply Agreement with United Future New Zealand https://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1409/2014_Confidence
_and_Supply_Agreement__United_Future.pdf

5 October 2014NationalMāori Party2014 Relationship Accord and Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Māori Partyhttp://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1410/2014_Relationship
_Agreement__Maori_Party.pdf
24 October 2017LabourGreenConfidence and Supply Agreement: New Zealand Labour Party and the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand https://www.parliament.nz/media/4487/nzlp___gp_c_s_agreement.pdf

Table 4: Agreements outside formation/inside Government [1]

Date Major Political Party Minor Political Party Title of AgreementLink
8 April 2009NationalGreen Memorandum of Understanding Between The New Zealand National Party and The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealandhttps://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/default/files/MOU_National_Party
_and_Green_Party.pdf

Box 1: Excerpts from the 2017 Cabinet Manual

Outcome of elections Para 6.18
Under New Zealand’s proportional representation electoral system, it is likely that two or more parties will negotiate coalition or support agreements so that a government can be formed, whether it is a majority or minority government. A coalition agreement provides for a closer relationship between two or more parties than a support agreement, a distinguishing characteristic of coalition agreements being that coalition parties are represented in Cabinet.

Principles and processes of government formation Para 6.42

The process of forming a government is political, and the decision to form a government must be arrived at by politicians.

Para 6.43
Once the political parties have reached an adequate accommodation, and it is possible to form a government, it is expected that the parties will make appropriate public statements of their intentions. Any agreement reached by the parties during their negotiations may need to be confirmed subsequently by the political parties involved, each following its own internal procedures.

Para 6.44
By convention, the role of the Governor-General in the government formation process is to ascertain where the confidence of the House lies, on the basis of the parties’ public statements, so that a government can be appointed. It is not the Governor-General’s role to form the government or to participate in any negotiations (although the Governor General might wish to talk to party leaders if the talks were to have no clear outcome).

[Bold added]