Winston Peters meets with leaders alone

by Sarah Robson / 18 October, 2017

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters. Photo / Richard Tindiller

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters met with the leaders of the National and Labour parties last night as post-election negotiations continue.

Mr Peters emerged from an all-day meeting at Parliament yesterday afternoon and said the board and caucus have now mainly completed their considerations.

However, there was not yet a decision on which way the party would go.

He indicated yesterday there was still no timeframe for a final decision and was now not committing to a self-imposed end-of-the-week deadline, saying there were other parties involved.

Mr Peters said there would be further discussions with the leaders of both parties, but would not say when.

However, last night it was revealed Mr Peters met with National's Bill English and Labour's Jacinda Ardern following the conclusion of yesterday's meeting.

Mr Peters said the board and the party would finish discussions as "urgently as we can".

"Sorting out differences of calculations and opinions and trying to make sure we've got, with both sides, a clear understanding," Mr Peters said.

"So if we do finalise it, we know we've already got the agreement, rather than having to go away and write it again."

But the party would be moving as fast as possible to finalise a deal, he said.

However, Mr Peters would not say when they would be contacting National and Labour.

Mr Peters said the board and caucus have reached a consensus on policy issues.

"If you're saying we are substantially unified, massively unified on what we've negotiated thus far, I'm pleased to say yes we are."

All nine different options for forming a government, ranging from a full coalition to sitting on the cross benches, were still on the table, Mr Peters said.

He told media the board members were now heading home and would not need to all physically come back to one place.

"We'll use the communications available to us to ensure they are in the loop and know precisely what they're signing up for."

New Zealand First has been holding coalition talks with National and Labour since the final election result was announced on 7 October.

After the election, Mr Peters said he would make a decision by Thursday 12 October, but since then explained he had not made clear whether that outcome would be made public on the same day.

Since then, Mr Peters had said he would announce which party his party would form a government with by the end of this week.

This article was originally published by RNZ.

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