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New Zealand populist to become deputy prime minister, foreign minister: media

[WELLINGTON] New Zealand's populist power broker, Winston Peters, will be appointed deputy prime minister and foreign minister when Cabinet positions are revealed this week, local media reported on Tuesday.

The New Zealand First leader delivered government to Labour through a coalition after a closely fought election on Sept 23 failed to deliver a majority to the governing National or Labour parties.

Labour's prime minister-elect, Jacinda Ardern, said last week that Mr Peters had been offered the role of deputy prime minister. He has accepted that position while also accepting the job of foreign minister, Radio New Zealand said on Tuesday.

Both Labour and New Zealand First declined to comment.

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Ms Ardern and Mr Peters have found common ground in "fortress New Zealand"-type policies that align more with populist movements across Europe and the United States than Labour's free-market predecessors.

Mr Peters, a colourful figure who rails against immigration, has worked under both Labour and National governments.

He was foreign minister in Helen Clark's Labour Party-led government in 2005, during which time he became among a handful of Western politicians to visit North Korea.

REUTERS