NZ Farce Party and the moving deadline

I doubt that many people will be surprised that assurances by Winston Peters have turn an announcement on the make-up of the new government into a NZ farce.

The only thing we know for certain about our government is that we don’t know what it will look like yet, and we are now past the Thursday deadline Peters had assured us he would meet.

On 25 July Winston reveals deadline day for coalition announcement:

“I make this guarantee that whatever decision New Zealand First arrives at post-election, it will be made public by the day the writs are returned, which is within three weeks from polling day.”

3 October Winston Peters adamant he can secure a coalition deal by deadline

Do you think you can get this done in the timeframe?

Peters: “Yeah I do”.

10 October: Peters pushes out talks deadline

But after completing another round of talks on Tuesday night, he told reporters the target was to complete the negotiations by Thursday night.

He said he would not be making the announcement on Thursday night.

It would be made “as soon as possible after Thursday night” but he wouldn’t go as far as to confirm the public would know his decision by Friday.

11 October: It won’t be known on Thursday who the new government is

Peters said back in July that a decision would be made public on October 12 but on Tuesday night he said there were “other arrangements” to be made first.

“Our target is to complete all these discussions by Thursday night – nothing’s changed. “We’ve got a few logistical things to work out but as soon as possible after that.”

12 October (W Day): Prime Minister will be known by end of next week – Winston Peters

12:15 pm: “It depends on the logistical availability of the board, which could be Saturday, Sunday or Monday,” he told reporters. He has not said when the public will be told of a decision.

1.12pm – ‘We’re doing this in breathtaking time’ – “The board needed to know at a certain time when they could possibly meet, and we’re working on their agendas, their timetables, where they live, the bookings and those sorts of things. With the greatest respect it is a silly question, and I wish you’d desist from it, because frankly, you’re not helping the process at all. We’re doing this in the breathtaking time that we possibly can do it. That’s all I can possibly say.”

2.10pm – Could be as late as Monday – NZ First board president Brent Catchpole said the board are ready to meet at “a moment’s notice” to discuss coalition agreements but there are logistics to organise. It could be as late as Monday before the board is able to meet. “That’s a possibility, some are going to have to take a day off work and notify their bosses so as soon as we get the word that’ll be put into motion,” Mr Catchpole said.

6:30pm – 10 days not unreasonable – Peters denies delay is a long wait, says it’s not unreasonable to take 10 days to complete the negotiation process. Ten days from October 7, when the Electoral Commission finalised the vote count, will be next Tuesday.

8:10pm – PM will be known by the end of next week – Peters says he’s committed to ensuring the public will know who the Prime Minister is by the end of next week. “Write that on the wall”.

So we may have a decision made and announced by some time next week, by Friday or by Sunday, or whenever it gets decided and announced.

Negotiations with the National and Labour party leaders have now wrapped up.

“We’re finished,” Mr Peters says. “All the policy stuff is finished.”

“I’m very, very pleased that we’ve actually got it finished. We’ve got a seriously comprehensive dossier for both sides and there’s some fiscals to be shared to make sure that we do agree. But the substantive part of the discussion… has been done.”

However, no discussions on portfolio positions have yet taken place.

“The issue of portfolios does not take long at all in these sorts of talks. It’s the substance that takes time,” he says.

So negotiations are complete, except for negotiations that will still be required. Numbers of ministers and portfolios will be important decisions to make.

The other parties involved will need to do their own consulting and deciding.

There may be details to clarify or issues to renegotiate.

The country has been left hanging, possibly for another week or more.

It doesn’t bode well for government over the next term that we have been strung along so much by Peters and the NZ Farce Party.

Reality strikes Winston’s timeline

It isn’t surprising to see Winston Peters changing his tune on when a new government will be announced. He seems to be shifting from ‘Yes on Thursday’ to ‘don’t know and it doesn’t matter when’.

It is hard to understand why Peters promoted a target date for a decision on an incoming government of the 12th of October, the day the writ is returned to Parliament, especially after he refused to start negotiating until the final results were announced four days ago.

New Zealand has been operating without any problems under a caretaker government since the election, and that could continue for some time without causing any problems, except for an impatient media wanting immediate action and headlines.

NZ First have indicated that they want to negotiate major social and economic reforms with two separate parties. It would be remarkable, if not ludicrous, to achieve this in five days.

Peters seems to have realised his commitment to a decision was unrealistic as he is softening his rheotric.

RNZ: Peters tight-lipped on coalition timeframe

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters had set a deadline of Thursday for a decision, but last night revealed it would not be made public that same day.

“Not on Thursday night, no.”

So his promised decision by the 12th is not going to happen.

He still hoped to complete all discussions by then, but could not say whether an announcement would be made before or after the weekend.

“We’ve got a few logistical things to sort out, but as soon as possible after that.”

So it’s now maybe, some time. It was always obvious there were a number of logistical things that would need sorting out.

Was Peters unrealistically optimistic about how quickly he could do a deal? Or was it just a bullshit commitment?

Mr Peters made the revelation on Tuesday evening after repeatedly dodging questions about the timeframe earlier in the day and week.

Asked if a decision was likely on Friday, he told reporters, “I didn’t say that”.

No, he has always said Thursday, and now he is avoiding committing to Friday, or any day.

The timeline also depended on the other parties involved in the negotiations, he said.

“I can’t answer for them.”

It was always obvious the timeline would depend on other parties. Peters has effectively been answering for them for months, until now.

He would not say whether the party’s board would convene on Thursday night.

“We’re not worrying about that at this point of time. We have to get further down the road of prioritising these talks.”

It appears that he has no idea when negotiations will be complete, he doesn’t when the NZ First board will convene to approve or otherwise, and it’s obvious he can’t know how long it will take other parties to decide whether to accept what has been negotiated or not.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Peters told reporters there was a “fair way to go yet” in terms of how much policy still had to be discussed.

“We’re seriously working on the various policies that other parties have got that may be relevant or not relevant to our final decision.

“But whatever that decision is, we know we’re going to disappoint people. It’s just a statement of fact.”

That sounds like negotiations are not looking like delivering on many of his policy promises.

He shouldn’t have stated as fact he would have a decision by Thursday when he obviously had no way of knowing if that was achievable or not.

He has now stated as a fact that he won’t make a decision by Thursday night. He now won’t even indicate whether an announcement will be made by the weekend or not.

He has still claimed that he will make his decision on Thursday but just won’t say what it is then.

But he also said yesterday that it wasn’t his decision to make, it was the NZ First board’s decision, and he doesn’t know when they will convene.

“Winston Peters is not going to make a decision. A party called NZ First, 24 years around the block, is going to make a decision, and its board. Not Winston Peters. I can’t speak for the party because I haven’t had a chance to talk to them all.”

So why has Peters been saying for months that he will announce his decision by 12 October?

“Our target is to complete all these discussions by Thursday night, nothing has changed.”

Yes, something has changed, his time commitment has evaporated.

Peters is all over the place on decision making and announcing. It isn’t a good sign for how a government involving him will operate.

It isn’t surprising, but Peters is probably right about one thing – there’s likely to be disappointment and anguish.