Winston Peters: NZ First 'unlikely' to meet before weekend

by RNZ / 12 October, 2017

Mr Peters says it's unclear exactly when his board will be able to meet. Photo / RNZ

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says it is unlikely his party's board would be able to meet tomorrow to sign off a deal about who will form the next government.

Mr Peters said while he expected to have the talks completed tonight, the timing of a board meeting to decide on any proposals was still up in the air.

"It depends upon the logistical availability of the board, which could be Saturday, Sunday or Monday. I'll know that before too long."

Mr Peters said the board members had to come from all around the country.

They had also ruled out holding the meeting via Skype.

Final discussions between New Zealand First and National, and then with Labour, are being held at Parliament today.

Meanwhile, Labour is negotiating separately with the Greens, whose seats would be needed to form a government with New Zealand First.

Sue Bradford - who was a senior Green MP between 1999 and 2009 and quit after the party chose Metiria Turei as co-leader over her - urged her old party not to "go soft" in their coalition negotiations with Labour.

While Ms Bradford had no inside knowledge of the negotiations, she did have some advice for the Greens.

"I'd really be pushing hard to make sure there were some serious policy gains in areas that are a priority for the Green Party."

She said making sure there were Cabinet roles as part of any deal would also be important.

"It's much stronger to actually be inside the Cabinet itself, even if some of the positions were subsidiary to the main ministers - you'd hope the Greens would bargain for at least one full ministry, if not more."

Unless the Greens bargained hard for policy gains, it would not be worth them entering a deal, Ms Bradford said.

"There's always a danger with the Greens of going soft and of compromising too much ... I'm really hoping they're hanging tough."

A Green Party reference group, which includes current and former MPs, will help formulate the final deal to be presented to 170 delegates in a Special General Meeting.

It is likely to be a "take it or leave it" situation for the delegates.

If delegates oppose or seek to block the deal, and the meeting cannot reach a consensus, the agreement would then have to be put to a vote, which would need 75 per cent of the support to proceed.

This article was originally published by RNZ.

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