Foreign ownership key topic in NZ First talks with National
NZ First leader Winston Peters says foreign ownership was one of the issues on the agenda at today’s meeting with National.
Emerging from the first meeting of the day, Mr Peters says it went “very well, like all the other ones so far.”
He says he is planning on meeting National again later today at a “time convenient to us both.”
He added that it is “likely” he would be meeting with Labour more than once today as well.
When pressed on what was discussed, Mr Peters told reporters that he doesn’t think "there is anyone in the press gallery that would not think foreign ownership is not part of these talks.”
He says the extraction of New Zealand ownership to foreign interests has been a “continuing story of this country’s decline since 1984."
“These talks are about a change in the way this country is run both economically and socially,” Mr Peters says.
The NZ First negotiating team is scheduled to meet with Labour this afternoon.
In terms of other policy, Mr Peters says he’s traversing similar policy areas with both National and Labour but wouldn’t outline which policy areas other than foreign ownership had been discussed.
“This isn’t a game of tennis or ping-pong, it's different discussions with different parties.”
Mr Peters says he won’t be meeting the Greens.
Following the weekend’s final Election 2017 vote count, National has 44% of the vote and 56 seats; Labour has 36% and 46 seats; the Greens has 6.2% of the vote and eight seats, and New Zealand First in the catbird seat, has 7.2% of the vote and nine seats.
NZ First can either back National or go into a three-way governing arrangement with Labour and the Greens.
He says he’s still on track to make a decision on which party will get NZ First’s support on Thursday.
“What we’re trying to do is ensure that we give all sides in this negotiation a fair hearing and vice versa.”