Peters says at 1pm: Decision in a few hours; Pros and cons relating to both policy packages; Very, very anxious time for himself and caucus; Will do one final look over each policy offering

By Alex Tarrant

National reportedly leant back against a New Zealand First demand for four Cabinet positions plus one Ministerial role outside Cabinet.

The NBR reported Thursday afternoon that this was the cause for the delay in New Zealand First announcing which way it would go. National was reportedly set to offer three Ministerial positions - not necessarily in Cabinet.

Winston Peters was reported to have then gone to Labour to ask if they would trump National's offer, NBR wrote. Newshub's Patrick Gower earlier tweeted that Peters was twice seen going to meet with Labour through a back entrance into Parliament House.

That it is a continuing cause of delay is unclear - Interest.co.nz has been told this fits into the speculation category with the view that New Zealand First's caucus was in fact having to take all the time it can to fully understand and come to some sort of agreement on which of the two final policy packages they have on the table infront of them they should choose.

Peters was reported at about 5:30pm to be readying speech notes.

Meanwhile, the Herald is reporting that New Zealand First's preference was to go with Labour. But that this hit a wall over Cabinet positions as well. The preferred deal would have seen NZ First given positions within Cabinet, with roles for the Greens outside Cabinet, something Labour baulked at. The Herald reported Labour was offering fewer Ministerial positions than National.

The Greens are reported to have called their delegate meeting for some time tonight. If this was the rationale behind the report that NZ First preferred a Labour deal, then best take a breath - Interest.co.nz's understanding, reported earlier this week, was that the Greens would call a meeting once Labour had told them they'd got sign-off from NZ First on what a Labour-NZF deal would look like if NZF were to go that way.

Interest.co.nz has heard that NZ First had gripes about the amount of power the Greens might get in a Labour-led government - although this would be expected.

That it has come down to Ministerial positions takes the shine of Peters' repeated comments that "policy is everything" to media over the past two weeks.

It has been mentioned to Interest.co.nz that both sides repeatedly struggled to interpret NZ First policy demands - the details and the fiscals - during the negotiation period.

Out to lunch

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said at about 1pm Thursday that a decision should be made in a “few hours” after his caucus had one final chance to review the two “final” offers on the table.

Speaking to media in Bowen House, he reiterated that the decision is one for the party – meaning he wouldn’t talk for what his colleagues were thinking. He said it was an anxious time, individually as well as collectively for the caucus.

He said there were pros and cons relating to the offers from Labour and National, and that the outcome would not be perfect for NZ First – due to the nature of negotiation processes.

Peters was asked whether New Zealand First had been in communication with National and Labour over ongoing negotiations and potentially further concessions: “Not in the nature you put that question, no,” he said.

“But we are not very far away from finality. And we’re just going to have a bite to eat, and then come back and put it all on the table and make a decision.”

There had been communication with the two parties “all the time, all along,” he later said.

Peters said the major focus had been on the decision, not what happened after it, when asked the nature of how the decision would be announced Thursday afternoon. He had not decided whether he’ll inform the leaders of the major parties of his decision before public announcement.

“The decision is everything, and other matters are extraneous, and they’ll sort themselves out once we’ve made a decision.”

He said the process was difficult. There were “pros and cons for every part of this decision we’ve got to make, and we’ll only get one more chance to evaluate what it means, both ways.”

He was asked whether that was because there were two good deals on the table and had been offered a lot? “Depends what your perspective is,” he said.

“Let’s be honest, no negotiation ends up perfectly, the way you’d like it. If it was the way you liked it, there’d never be any negotiation in the first place.”

He said he was out on his way to breakfast (this was just before 1pm). “We’ll go back, we’ve got a few hours to go…we hope to complete it.”

He said New Zealand First had come into the negotiations with a “seriously open mind.” He continued that he couldn’t say what his colleagues were thinking, but that they were all going to matter in what they said, adding it is a party decision.

He said the deals being looked at today were seriously final.

Asked whether there was a chance NZ First didn’t make a decision today: “I hope not.” But he said he still wouldn’t rule it out – “you never know what might blow in the next couple of hours.” In politics, things changed by the hour.

“Policy is everything. Always has been,” was the response to a question of whether his caucus might get sidetracked by any positions on offer.

Asked whether the mood within the party was positive: “When you’re going into discussions with grave uncertainties, that are both personal and as a group of people, it’s a very, very anxious time.”

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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38 Comments

Might come down to a flip of a coin in a few minutes time.....

Or as I have done with important things, a spreadsheet with all the items (policies) listed, weightings applied to individual ones and two totals at the bottom.

In his heart he knows which way he wants to go and he has known for some time

he knows but maybe his party wants to go a different way, and that may be the problem

True

And the idle speculation aka guesses continues.

He is a well compensated veteran politician. Time to do his job, be a leader of his party and make a decision.

Has WP ever taken the blame for anything going wrong.
What ever he chooses today,he will be wanting to come out smelling like roses.

Be fair, all politicians blame the opposition.

Its a bit hard to believe the offers are that close , or similar.
I would say they are having trouble agreeing on which way to go .

FB status update today :

The Queen to New Zealand...
Better get a government going quickly, else I am sending Charles to rule over you.
#Thejokeisonus

Its like waiting for the final rose ceremony on The Bachelor. Who will Winston choose and where will they go for Honeymoon?

One thing for sure the Greens will be the Bridesmaid.

"One thing for sure the Greens will be the Bridesmaid."

Again.

If they are both close enough to be a good basis to form a government then at this stage, I would be placing all my emphasis on trust, relationships, past relationships and track records with each party. Without that all the rest may well be a bunch of meaningless words. Based on their run up to the election and negotiation, my judgement is that I would not trust National and would expect a bunch of dirty tricks. Look at all their past coalition partners; - all either gone or practically gone. What they really want is the power of a first past the post result and project annoyance at the prospect of a consultative coalition.

lol, politics change by the hour --- what a circus !!!!!!!!!
how are they going to work together if they haven't yet made up their minds and that could sway either way in the last minute .... that speaks volumes about NZF and its indecisiveness going forward ....
I now really hope that they will go with the left so we can see all these flimsy useless polys for what they really are ... and the next 3 years will be a needed painful remedy to clear the dead log and get the grass roots growing fresh again

Looks like Labour will lift its skirt higher :) It's not about the baubles, it's about the baubles. Go Labour/Greens!!!!

or droped them all together... :)

Looks like Labour to me!

All signs last few minutes looks like its Labour

Keep refreshing for updates - a few in there now. Cheers

Peters is going to come out of this looking and sounding like a schoolboy pratt.
NZF over and out.

Wanting to feed the 6 pm news, are they ?

You would have to admit WP has nerves of steel and is playing chicken right up to the wire and trying to extract the best possible deal. At this stage (last couple of hours) I would say the Greens are holding the country to ransom.

They need to, because they have nearly the same % vote as NZF. They should get the same deal. If they don't they truly are lap dogs.

I hope Winston has some sort of "knights fork" stored up his sleeve then.

The latest from NZ First;

ANNOUNCEMENT

New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters will make an announcement in the Beehive Theatrette shortly.

 

You have to respect the democratic process but it will be a very fragile government which is not good.

If he's turning up to press conference wearing red lipstick you know it's a done deal!

Winston has just put NZ into recession with his speech!! :)

Well done Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters. Putting average kiwis first, at last.

OMG that is going to rock the boat

Not all Black and White Penguin, we need change, not favoritism....so maybe stop flapping, unless deeply in someones debt. Like National..is for instance, if that was your flight of fancy.

No flapping here. You are right those that are leveraged might be a bit concerned. About time those tax breaks for second homes got canned.

I've been saying for most of the year that people need to pay down debts and accumulate cash. Leverage is horrible on the downside.

Time to clear out the corrupt activities that have been concealed by National. I'm just waiting for the portfolios to be assigned now.

Let's watch the B&T auction rate in the next few weeks

BE has just lost his second election to be PM, will he bother to sit there for another 3 years on take a plum job and become sir BE

I hear he is jumping ship, not jumping for joy. But I am sure that there will be a job for him at ANZ.
They must be coining it. ...Pensioned off...on easy street...and will smile and wave with his BFF who jumped The "National" ship before it sank, with all hands orf the tiller.