The wait could be nearly over on coalition talks

NZ First leader Winston Peters says his board is massively unified on what we have discussed so far (photo: Jerry Yelich-O'Connor)

UPDATE: The wait to find out who will be New Zealand’s next government appears to nearly be over as Winston Peters begins wrapping up talks with National and Labour.

Last night, Mr Peters was spotted conducting separate one-on-one meetings with Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister Bill English.

Mr English confirmed he had met with Mr Peters, but refused to comment on the contents of that meeting.

The meetings came just an hour after Mr Peters addressed media after a second full day of meeting with the NZ First board and caucus.

He says there is still a few more things to do, but would not say what they were but further discussions with both National and Labour will be needed.

EARLIER: New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says his board is “98% of the way there” when it comes to agreeing on policy but there is still work to be done before a final agreement is announced.

Speaking to media following the second day of discussions with the board and his caucus, Mr Peters says he’s “almost ready” to take a finalised proposal back to National and Labour.

“The board has come to an almost total consensus on the issue of policy – and that’s what really matters to us.”

Although he says there has been “serious consensus” on the policies NZ First negotiated with both sides, a consensus on which side the party will back to form a government has not yet been reached.

He says there is still a few more things to do but would not say what they were, adding that further discussions with both National and Labour will be needed.

“We have things to finish off as urgently as we can, sorting out differences of calculations and opinions and trying to make sure we have, with both sides, a clear understanding so that, if we do finalise it, we will know we really have the agreement rather than going away and having to write it again.”

Once firmer agreements have been hammered out, the NZ First negotiating team could go back to the board for a sign-off.

But he says that will not require another meeting and can be done through correspondence.

“The board is starting to wind its way home and we're going to go away and try and bring the matter to a finality as fast as we possibly can.”

He says NZ First will “press on” but there will be no more discussions tonight.

Mr Peters says once things have been “wrapped up,” he will be talking to both National and Labour about what they want and that will then again be taken back to the NZ First board.

He says other issues, such as if NZ First’s support will come in the form of a coalition agreement or another form, are “still in the mix.”

Mr Peters says the party is still on track for an announcement to be made before the end of the week.

RELATED VIDEO: Susan Woods talks to NBR's political team on Live from the Hive (Oct 17)


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48 Comments & Questions

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So, Mr Peters says, it's in the interests of New Zealand. Says who? 92.8% didn't vote for NZF

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21 years of the same tired word play of what percentage didn't vote for any given party, has become very boring indeed.

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And I am sick of hearing that Winston and his Board have "almost come to a consensus on policy". He has no right to bargain over major policy matters that have already been voted on by over a million voters in National's case. Peters doesn't have a constitutional mandate to bargain over much at all nor play one party off against another. Little wonder 93% voters want nothing to do with him, and even less at the next election.

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You are so right. NZ is going to have wear policies that were never put to the people before the election. And they call it "democracy"!!

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That would be no different from the NZ public's experience with National.

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So you think NZ First will get 100% of its policies in negotiations do you? How naive you are.

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For goodness sake read the post, understand it, and think before you reply.
What is happening now is, "policy negotiation".
Which means "give and take".
"consensus" "pragmatism" "collaboration",
In politics, they are all synonyms for "hypocrisy".
There will be policies "agreed" (hashed & mismashed) to, that were NEVER put to the public before the election.
That is NOT democracy.

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You do worry me John. Plus don't play the school ma'am with me based on the history of your posts here. They are negotiating over what parts of their election polices will be accepted. In particular what parts of NZ First policy.

If you think that this will lead to totally new policies that weren't put to the public during the election, then you are either dreaming or troublemaking.

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Going on percentages, remember that the majority of the country also rejected National - and Labour....

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You are being specious. National got the gold medal easily; Labour the Silver medal; and NZ First a distance Bronze; and the rest are even further back in the pack. So how did the majority of voters look at Winston - 93% said he didn't matter.

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But the country also said National needs a coalition partner to get 50% plus.....

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What are you worried about Winnie? The voters have clearly indicated they want a National led govt. Are your gang of henchmen more important than a million plus voters? Yeah, yeah, I know it's not FPP, but it would be folly to ignore the voters choice. when you hold only 7%. If the voting had been 36% tand 38% to the main parties, and 26% to you, then you could show a bit more muscle - but it wasn't, so don't punch above your weight for the survival of your party and MMP.

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We have become a banana republic.

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As dangerous as a Klark-puppeted-Arden labour misled "government" would be, if the comedy king goes hard left, it will be a hilarious few months (before the wheels come off). Most betting agencies are already making odds and will undoubtedly take a punt on how soon the governmental collapse would be!!!

Vote for change...is a vote for calamity!!!

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English was clear during campaign: votes were needed to deliver stable government.
The electorate dealt a different hand.
Winston is making progess. He is not talking, in my view, like a procrastinator rather someone making a serious and thorough decision.
If anything English has made noises the decisions should take longer.
Whether we should be in the position was a matter for us all a few weeks back.
Having not delivered a clear result we are in capable hands it would seem.

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The same capable hands that destroyed two previous coalitions.

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Excuse me! "English" with the Nats scored highest at election. And you imply he should not be speaking!!
That is right, I forgot, Mr NO scores 7% and gets all the say!! That is democracy??

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Labours total vote in 1978 and 1981 was less than that of National. Muldoon formed a government because huge Labour majorities in the central city seats and South Auckland resulted in a lot of wasted vote. Muldoon remained in power because of the vote of Social Creditor Brucie Beetham and two Labour defectors John Kirk and McDonnel who had been deselected by their own electorates
One might make the observation that the small National majority is won on the basis of policies so collectivist and redistributive to make it a fraud on trade description act. National is founded and described as a party of the individual and capitalism and the western British law. The wall street journal still believes National is aright centre government nothing could be further from the truth. The power of English is founded on various constitutional outrages, notably the CRC coup and the lack of oversight and review of the hit and run retaliatory raid in Afghanistan. It is now a peronist peoples party which has destroyed the great freedom and liberties won by its past real leaders

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Actually on a popular vote basis Labour won both elections with Rowling leading .In 1978 Labour won 40.4 % to National 39.8 % and in 1981 Labour just with 40.0% to National on 39.8% enabling Muldoon to form a minority government with the vote of Peters, Banks, Minogue, Waring, Kirk, McDonnell, Beetham and Morrison unrelated to the Air Marshall in Wing Commander Gills old seat lost by Don Brash. My apologies for the typo, wrong glasses. My point is National and Celia Wade Brown never regarded a lower first preference popular vote as any problem or constitutional barrier to forming an administration.

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Ian ANY event - this appalling electoral nonsense we have occurring needs to be addressed.

Who is going to stand up & lead the crusade to change it ?

I am too old & too wealthy to be popular & an opinion leader.. someone else needs to do it - oh, my wife says i'm too ugly for the TV too ! but i still love her.

Someone's gotta do it !

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Are you really Gareth Morgan?

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Peters holds the country for ransom just like Imsurance companies and ACC who take your money but never pay out.

ACC take their time processing your injury claim then string you along then bang you get a letter on the post,declined as you are over 25 it is degenerative.

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Saying we are in 'safe hands' with Winston calling the shots is a joke. The whole process has become a farce for democracy with a few unknown background boys deciding who is going to run New Zealand for the next three years. Banana Republic? We're on our way.....

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The majority voted for MMP, and this is MMP in action, so stop whinging about it. Whatever way Winston goes, we will have a center-left or centre-right government - we don't have extreme L or R parties in NZ. So chill people.

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I say we are in safe hands because if WP capitulated to National or Labour that government would fail anyway.
It is better to thrash out issues up front(if that is what they are doing) and WP is making the right noises around that.
The first test for either proposition is the "pushback" which we are starting to see when the prospective PMs and their parties retake control proportionate to their voting block.
The courtesy being shown on all sides is another indicator that we are in good hands.

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At last common sense will prevail. The result never in doubt. National Party with 56 seats .Labour Party 46 seats. National Party circa 200,000 more votes than Labour. now as we were saying ,what part of that do Ron Mark and Shane Jones not understand.

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Another punter who cannot grasp the reality of left voters spanning more than one party.

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Since when was NZF a lefty party. For once in your life Frank ,get something right,just once.

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I dare say Frank is referring to the Greens...

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Yeah, that was odd.

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Peters is acting as if we are dealing with an potential NZF Government seeking a coalition partner. Not so. N has 56 seats and he has 7. Which ever way Peters jumps leaves him as a (very) minority part of either a N or L led Government. The reverse phsycology vented by the less supported parties that collectively they represent a Majority for change is weird Even under MMP the most votes prevail.

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A friend of my hubby is very close to the action. He has just told us Winston will be going with National. Forget all the talk of baubles and personal agendas, Winston's main negotiating plank was to secure the *long term future of NZ First*...that will be his legacy. Only the Nats were in a position to provide that assurance.

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If that happens, he goes with national, the foreign buyers will be back in droves buying up existing houses and then back to square one,foreigners always vote national, the more foreigners we let in, Labour will never get back into power.

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You sound xenophobic? Most 'foreigners' I've met in Auckland are very nice and productive people who pay taxes like the rest of us.

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Although I think most of the ones you're referring to came here from Palmerston North.

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I suppose you are referring to yellow or brown skin foreigners . We have plenty of foreigners in our Neighbourhood and they are residents and citizens earning an honest living and paying more tax than you and majority of the people who claimed to be speaking out in the interest of the country .

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I guess you're referring to Asian foreigners your tone. In my experience these folk tend to either vote for the government in power at the time of election or for who was in power when they arrived as immigrants.

Clark got plenty of Asian votes. She was (and is) also an internationalist who understands connection with an ever changing world. I doubt whether Labour's current anti-immigrant populism would have got traction under Clark

I think your comment is more about prejudice than about buying patterns under National versus Labour

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Immigrants are not the problem. The problem is the self-absorbed older generations who espouse capitalism for others and socialism for themselves.

Folk who want as much as possible from the state while contributing as little as possible to others, for whom free education, healthcare, a pension at 65, and affordable housing built on NZ's history of policies to this end is something they're entitled to, but any suggestion of others being as deserving as they is met with caterwauls of "BOOO! COMMUNISM!!! BUT DON'T TOUCH MY PENSION AND ASK ME TO PUT MY MONEY WHERE MY MOUTH IS!"

If folk are going to choose a philosophy they should live consistently with it.

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Heaven forbid we look beyond the housing market as a form of investment.

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Really Nelly!!! If Winston Peters goes with National, NZ First will go the same way as Maori Party. WP won't have any wriggling space as National MP are too rigid in their way and the average house prices in Auckland will go up to $ 1.5M to $2 M . Kiwis (first home buyers) can forget buying a house in New Zealand.

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Well, I'm only passing on the information my hubby got from his longtime friend in Wellington. He's a wine-waiter at the Green Parrot and was adamant this is going to be the outcome.

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Ah ha - You have tripped over your own foot in your mouth. The Green Parrot does not have a wine waiter, only general waiters. Just shows how much written here is absolute twaddle.

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Sorry to correct you there Smelly, but as a regular at the GP, I can tell you you're quite incorrect as regards to that.

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Hope the 2% certainty does not take another 2 weeks. Winston don't hold the nation to ransom

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We appear to be doing OK without the politicians; can we just get rid of them and leave it to the public service senior management to run the country? Savings could be apportioned to health, education, housing, infrastructure etc. Air NZ might go broke though.

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Im enjoying not being lectured hectored and badgered by the political class these past 3 weeks. Long may it continue. Long may it continue. Whilst they are scrapping over who will have the baubles of office they are leaving me alone to get on with making and spending a buck rather than thinking up new ways they can raid my hip pocket for their wastrel ways.

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The major parties have been too scared to ‘push back’ and say anything to upset Winston. He has them by the short and curlies and that’s what makes this whole process so despicable.

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When I read all of the comments here and in other NBR stories you'd think Winston will control all the policies of the next Government. Yes he has significant leverage because no party or grouping has the 50% needed without his support. But he will only get a small number of his policies agreed to. And then National or Labour/Greens will always have the majority for making decisions in Cabinet for the implementation of policy or for new policy.
So stop all the ideological hysteria people and respect the election outcome.

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