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.