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Peters to delay decision

10 October 2017 7:19 AM
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Peters to delay decision

NZ First leader Winston Peters has ruled out a public announcement on Thursday about the result of talks to form a new government.

Mr Peters is holding talks with main parties National and Labour after last month's inconclusive election result.

On Tuesday night, the veteran MP said he expected to complete talks by Thursday night and an announcement would be made as soon as possible after that.

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

Mr Peters emerged from the final meeting with National’s negotiating team just before 8pm after about one hour and 15 minutes. He and his team met with both Labour and National twice on Tuesday.

He expected to have at least four meetings with the Labour and National teams on Wednesday and possibly more.

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

He had not yet decided when the NZ First board would be brought in to consider the outcome, and could not say whether a decision would come on Friday or over the weekend or next week.

He said it would depend on the other parties he was negotiating with as well, but his immediate priority was the talks at hand rather than the logistics around an announcement.

Asked if the choices were getting clearer for him, he again said he himself was not responsible for making the decision - but his party.

“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.”

Earlier, Mr Peters admitted he was feeling the pressure of the coalition negotiations, and any decision he makes would cause “disappointment and anguish”.

He wrote on his Facebook page that he and his team were working towards a decision “as fast as we can”.

“We are all sworn to secrecy to ensure we have frank and open discussions. You will all know as well as us that, whatever decision we make, it will cause disappointment and anguish. That’s reality ... and there is no escaping that.”

Asked about the post on the way to his second meeting with National this evening, Mr Peters responded: “This is not the All Blacks hitting the field. This is politics, right? And before you even get on the paddock, there are a whole lot of people that don’t want you to be there, some want you to be there and some want you to win, some want you to fail - that’s politics. And we’re being realistic about it.”

Following his second meeting with Labour on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Peters was asked if he felt the weight on his shoulders.

Asked how far through the programme he was, he said: “Who would know? Because there may be other things that are being worked on and reported back by other parties to us, which will enlarge the discussion, or abbreviate it.

“You wouldn’t expect to talk to people and have an exact agreement right on the spot without people [having] a chance to go away, check out the facts, check out the other side of the argument, check out figures and calculations against theirs. So that’s pretty normal.”

Following a meeting with National on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Peters dismissed any suggestion that it would be useful for him and his team to meet with the Green Party.

Earlier, Greens leader James Shaw said the Greens had made themselves available to meet NZ First, but the invitation had not been taken up.

Mr Peters said he was not open to meeting the Greens because the Greens had campaigned on a partnership with Labour.

“For months and months, in fact for years, they all campaigned together, hugging each other, embracing each other, and loving each other. We didn’t. We were never part of any pre-arranged structure, so why are you trying to foist one on us now?”


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