NO SURPRISES POLICY – NO POLICY AT ALL – SAYS PETERS
The Rt Hon Winston Peters MP, Leader of New Zealand First, today said that the no surprises policy in the
Labour/Alliance Coalition Agreement is no policy at all – and was made to be broken – intentionally or otherwise.
“Uncertainty amongst certain Government Ministers, let alone the public, over the implementation of certain Alliance
Policies would have been avoided if Labour and the Alliance had negotiated policies set down in their Coalition
“This need not take weeks of negotiations as was the case in 1996. New Zealand First has long since conceded that the
length of those negotiations was regrettable because of having to deal with two old parties – but having a specific,
legally binding, agreement was not.
“That is the only way both parties know where they and their policies stand. That is how MMP Governments are able to
provide stability and strong leadership.
“Nor does such an agreement prevent the individual coalition parties from branding and differentiating themselves from
one another. Each party can publicly claim credit for the policies they got into the Agreement – just as they can
publicly distance themselves from a particular policy they are not responsible for.
“This would enable each coalition partner to speak as a Party in its own right and not just as The Government,” said Mr
Mr Peters said that a detailed Coalition Agreement increases the opportunities for coalition partners to “brand” and
speak out as individual parties.