Final day of talks under way

NZ First Party leader Winston Peters. Photo: NZME
Winston Peters. Photo: ODT files
NZ First leader Winston Peters has wound up an early morning caucus meeting before what is expected to be the final day of discussions between the party and National and Labour.

Mr Peters said little other than that he expected today's talks to focus again on policy.

Asked how his caucus meeting had gone, he said "very good" but would not say what was discussed. "All caucus discussions are confidential."

Mr Peters and his negotiating team will meet National at 9.30am.

The Green Party team has also started to gather at Parliament as they work through the final details of a proposed agreement with Labour, which could go to a special meeting of delegates tonight, before NZ First makes its decision.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has arrived at Parliament, telling reporters she was feeling good, but not stopping to talk.

Ms Ardern had dined at NZ First leader Winston Peters' regular haunt - the Green Parrot - last night after talks wound up.

Asked how she had enjoyed it she said "you can't even have a schnitzel in peace".

Mr Peters was not at the restaurant last night, opting to dine elsewhere.

Shane Jones has headed over for the talks with National.

Asked if he knew who was on the NZ First board, he replied "um, yeah, no, our rangatira, he'll deal with those questions and issues later on in the process."

He responded to a further question about whether he knew who was on the board with a "kia ora" before heading off.

Before the caucus meeting, the MPs would not reveal exactly what was on the agenda - or give any hints as to what way they thought the board would go when it meets, likely tomorrow, to consider the two options.

Deputy leader Ron Mark said he had "no idea" what the board would do. Shane Jones said he would leave such comments to the "rangatira" - Winston Peters. Asked what they would talk about at caucus he said "ah, just a continuation of policy".

The caucus meeting could have seen the MPs discussing the form of governing arrangement they prefer - from a full coalition to the cross benches without ministerial posts - as well as the pros and cons of Labour versus National.

The first meeting of the day will be with National at 9.30am followed by a Labour meeting at 12.30pm. Two further meetings are likely this afternoon - Mr Peters said last night he expected it to be the most substantive day of discussions and the day that delivered him two proposals to take to the board.

Mr Peters said last night that there had not yet been any discussion with National or Labour about ministerial posts - but did not rule out having those discussions later.

He said the talks so far had focused solely on policies and he did not expect that to change today.

Add a Comment