Negotiations, decisions could be some time yet

NZ First party discussions on who to form a government with will continue into today, and even when they make a decision it could still take time from then to know what the outcome is.

There seemed to be no great urgency to get things under way yesterday morning as NZ First MPs and board members trickled into Wellington. They were reported to start meeting at 10.30 am.

Late yesterday afternoon Winston Peters issued a brief statement:

The New Zealand First Board and Members of Parliament are continuing with their discussions around post-election negotiations.

It is expected the meeting will go on for several more hours.

Later advice was given that things wouldn’t be complete on Monday.

NZH: More talks ahead as NZ First decides on government

The nine NZ First caucus members and 14 board members were sequestered away for the day getting meals taken into them rather than leaving for food. The meeting broke soon after 6pm and the board left through a back entrance. Only NZ First MP Shane Jones left past the waiting media, saying they were going to get dinner.

…after 6pm media were told there would be no public statements and the board would return again this morning.

Peters said little during the day and would not confirm whether his discussions with one party were more advanced than another. He did confirm English was correct that he had not discussed ministerial portfolios in negotiations.

He has also said the board and caucus were yet to consider what form of government NZ First would settle on – from the cross benches to a full coalition.

Although NZ First leader Winston Peters said he expected to announce NZ First’s intentions as soon as possible after that board meeting, English said that even if NZ First made its decision on which side to go with there would have to be further negotiations before a final deal and government was settled on.

So one of Peters’ assurances, that a decision may be made by the end of this week, may be his most accurate, albeit typically vague.

And that may not be the end of it. English:

“They won’t be looking at completed agreements because there are still a number of issues related to forming a government that have not yet been dealt with. The policy discussion was completed but there is not yet an agreement including the type of government, ministerial positions to put to our caucus or party board.”

He said working out those final details should not take long although if NZ First continued to negotiate with both sides on those issues it could be more difficult because of the added “complexity” on the Labour side because of the inclusion of the Green Party.

The Greens appear to be yet to take any options to the party for consideration.

The Green Party has also again held off holding its Special General Meeting to seek 75 per cent approval from about 150 delegates for its deal with Labour. It has been ready to hold that meeting for days.

If the delegates don’t reach agreement it may have to go to all party members for consultation and making a decision, if one can be made. There may be some concerns over getting into a governing arrangement when NZ First seem to have so much sway.

Earlier, Peters had told Newstalk ZB it was a complex decision and all options for a government formation were still on the table – from the cross benches to a full coalition. He wanted the party to decide based on policy gains rather than ministerial roles.

He said NZ First had worked over the weekend to firm up the precise agreements with National and Labour, and contact had been “reasonably extensive”.

So negotiations were nowhere near complete by Thursday, the original deadline indicated by Peters.

I don’t care how long they take, but media seem to be getting increasingly frustrated with being strung along without getting any stories of substance to report on.


  1. artcroft

     /  October 17, 2017

    I agree. Let them take their time, the country carries on nicely while the beehive is untenanted.

    • Corky

       /  October 17, 2017

      Like a town without a sheriff, Arty. Good times to be had by all until the next tin star rides into town. That’s when the trigger finger starts twitching.

      • Gezza

         /  October 17, 2017

        I wouldn’t go out for a beer with him, arty, if I were you. Too oily. You’d have to wonder.

  2. NOEL

     /  October 17, 2017

    Could be a good time to experiment. Ask Winston to delay 10 months and lets see if the country can survive without policy changes.

  3. Blazer

     /  October 17, 2017

    Bill…’He said working out those final details should not take long although if NZ First continued to negotiate with both sides on those issues it could be more difficult because of the added “complexity” on the Labour side because of the inclusion of the Green Party.’
    so thats the…hold up!

    • Gezza

       /  October 17, 2017

      I’ve changed my mind. I really think Winston is going to go with whichever main party gives him the best deal in terms of implementing as much NZF (probably previously totally un-costed) policy as possible – except the referendum on the Maori seats which I believe he never intended to do.

      • PDB

         /  October 17, 2017

        I think it’s now pointing to Winston going with Labour (hopefully) – Ardern seems to think discussions have finished whilst English doesn’t seem to think they have.

        • Gezza

           /  October 17, 2017

          Would you agree either way a general referendum on the Maori seats was always a non-starter – really – with Winston. Just a vote-catching ploy?

          • PDB

             /  October 17, 2017

            Pure Winston – voters that voted for him on that particular issue (and I suggest that it would be a reasonable number) will feel ripped off now it looks likely to not happen.

  4. George

     /  October 17, 2017

    What’s the bet that we’ll be told later this week that ‘problems have arisen’ while Peters basks in the limelight for the last time ?

  5. PDB

     /  October 17, 2017

    A hell of a lot of people don’t care because the situation appears to be;

    *Winston chooses your preferred party of choice to govern with and they are out of govt come 2020 (likely to be for at least 2 terms).
    *Winston doesn’t choose your preferred party of choice to govern with and you have to put up with the other mob for the next three years.

    People wanting a quick fix will want Winston to go with their party, others that are more patient & happy to play the waiting game will be hoping for the opposite scenario.

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  October 17, 2017

    How much can Winston and Jacinda stuff up the country in three years? They can make rental houses cost more by applying a capital gains tax to them and requiring all kinds of audits and upgrades to meet inflexible standards. They can reduce tourism and horticulture by putting the screws on immigration and visas. They can bankrupt some farmers by cutting off their access to water. They can increase rates by requiring councils to control even more aspects of our lives, implement unelected iwi representation and consult everyone about everything while leaving actual decisions and power in the hands of bureaucrats and tribunals. They can create even more authorities to stop everyone doing anything and stuff them full of their people who can be relied on to say no to everything.

    Quite a bit really. I’m not looking forward to it.

    • PDB

       /  October 17, 2017

      Hence the rub – is it better the left get in this term for just three years with Winston acting as some form of hand-brake & the Greens being effectively sidelined, OR for 2-3 terms from 2020 with Labour-Greens (maybe even Maori party) having enough support to govern alone?