NZ talks end, Peters has 'open mind'

Lester Mason
October 13, 2017

Almost three weeks after New Zealand's general election, the country is waiting for an anonymous, unelected board of individuals belonging to a minor party to make a decision on who forms the next government.

Negotiations that will decide which of the main parties leads the next New Zealand government have ended, with NZ First leader Winston Peters saying he isn't leaning one way or the other.

After the 23 September election the National party was left with 56 seats and Labour 46 - both short of the 61 needed to form a government in the 120-seat parliament.

The decision whether to back National or Labour will be taken by his party's caucus and board at a meeting to be held in Wellington on Saturday, Sunday or Monday. He'd earlier said his party would make a decision by Thursday. Like the other party leaders, he considers the content of the negotiations to be confidential.

Mr Peters had been working around the commitments of some of the board to bring them together.

So far, there had been no talks of ministerial positions and the party was still working through policy.

Peters said on Thursday it was unclear when the board would be able to convene as members had to fly in from different parts of the country, some had not applied for leave from their jobs and a couple had funerals to attend.

Kingmaker Winston Peters emerged from his party's caucus meeting on Friday morning to announce the country was a step closer to a decision being made.

The New Zealand First board will need to make a consensus decision on either the National or Labour deal, with Mr Peters set to have plenty of influence over the proceedings.

1 NEWS political editor Corin Dann says Mr Peters has no more face-to-face talks planned with parties, but says there are still discussions over policy details to be had.

"I'm very, very pleased we've actually got it finished", he told reporters after the final meeting on Thursday night.

"New Zealand First values transparency but we also value an individual's privacy especially when they volunteer their services".

"We've got a seriously comprehensive dossier from both sides".

This does not mean NZ First will have an announcement ready on Monday, however.

Time is of the essence, Mr Peters said.

Peters said it was the news media who had misunderstood the October 12 decision he'd previously promised.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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