Coalition talks: NZ First and ACT representatives meet

ACT Party leader David Seymour and NZ First leader Winston Peters. Photo: RNZ
ACT Party leader David Seymour and NZ First leader Winston Peters. Photo: RNZ
Government talks have edged forward with representatives of New Zealand First and the ACT Party meeting today for the first time since the October 14 election.

RNZ understand the chiefs of staff from both parties met this afternoon in Wellington - Darroch Ball for New Zealand First and Andrew Ketels from ACT.

The meeting was to start establishing relationships between the two parties which are working with National to form the next government, after a bumpy start.

ACT leader David Seymour has texted and called NZ First leader Winston Peters to try arrange a meeting, but Peters said he suspected it was fake and did not respond.

That invitation to meet remains unanswered, but both leaders have publicly indicated a desire to get together before a deal is announced.

National has been negotiating with each party separately, but this is the first formal get together between its two potential partners - who regularly clashed during the election campaign.

It is understood an arrangement between the three players is not imminent - with National currently focusing its efforts on NZ First.

None of the parties has put any timeline on the conclusion of talks to form the next government, but Luxon has said he would be keen to head to the APEC Summit mid next week.

That could be a stretch, given the current state of the talks and the fact all parties would have to run any deal past their respective boards and caucuses, and the new government would have to be formally sworn-in.

In the meantime, the timings of counting special votes mean the warrants for the caretaker ministers from the last Parliament expire this weekend.

Unless there is a new agreement formally struck before then, any ministers re-elected as MPs last month will have to be sworn-in again as a temporary measure.

Under law, New Zealand's Parliament must sit within six weeks of the official election results, but there is no date for when a government must be formed.