While we wait for Winston, what's on the table?by Jane Patterson
The precinct is populated by some MPs, press secretaries and journalists, but with many people in limbo, not really knowing how things will look in a few weeks time.
And the stake-outs have started, with political reporters lurking in corridors trying to talk to MPs and staff as the first of the coalition meetings get underway.
The man of the hour is the New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, doling out interviews with journalists like party favours as he shuttles between his Bowen House office and the 'neutral' territory of a meeting room in Parliament House.
Switching between annoyance and jest, he chides reporters waiting to interview him for their conduct.
"You're carrying on this behaviour in the most irresponsible fashion.
"I'm being very kind just even talking to you right now about the matter."
Theatrics aside, the point he is most eager to make is New Zealand First will not be making any firm decisions about government support deals until after the special votes are announced on Saturday afternoon.
Unlike previous elections there is a deadline for a deal - Thursday 12 October - self-imposed by Mr Peters to avoid what he sees as unfair accusations he will conduct long drawn-out negotiations
He still bridles at the suggestion he held the country to ransom in the 1996 government talks, pointing out it was the first negotiation under MMP and was wrapped up within weeks, not months as some have characterised.
The meetings yesterday were short and sweet, basically laying out the ground rules for the talks that will begin in earnest once the final election result is known.
That includes where the parties will meet, the flexibility to have different people present depending on the issue under discussion and that the talks will remain confidential - a condition that also extends to the media, Mr Peters said.
"Otherwise we may as well hire the Westpac Stadium, turn on the lights, turn on the loudspeakers and just go for it," he said.
After a half hour discussion each with Labour and National, Mr Peters said for him, this is a no win situation "between the devil and the deep blue sea."
"You can't win with the public, you can't win with the media, you can't win with the commentariat."
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