Jacinda Ardern: 'It's not Winston Peters' fault'

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says there's a lot of pressure on NZ First leader Winston Peters, but he's always been clear of his intentions to go with either Labour or National.

Ms Ardern told Duncan Garner on the AM Show this morning she rang the NZ First leader yesterday, but she wouldn't be drawn on details around the conversation aside from saying it was organisational. 

 

 

"I gave him a call to have a chat about that early meeting. We lined up a call and had a call, and the real work will start after the specials on Saturday," she told the show.  

She said the special votes, of which there are around 380,000, were important to both Labour and the Green Party.

Ms Ardern said Labour needed to be respectful of the votes both the Green Party and NZ First brought in and said Labour had started preliminary negotiations with the Greens.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern on The AM Show.
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern on The AM Show. Photo credit: Newshub.

Ms Ardern said the idea the Greens could be on the cross benches is "unfair" but wouldn't say whether the Greens would be offered ministerial responsibilities.

All parties were working as quickly as they could, and both Labour and NZ First knew they had a huge responsibility to bring a stable coalition to New Zealand. That is what they would work towards.  

"We are making sure we take this process incredibly seriously," she said. 

But she would not be drawn on details of the negotiation aside from it would be a small team led by her and Kelvin Davis and the Prime Minister and Finance Minister roles were off the table. 

She defended Mr Peter's position saying there was a lot of pressure on him, but it was not his fault they were in this situation.  

"There's a lot of pressure on Winston here, but it's not Winston's fault that he's currently in this situation when he's the one that's always said, 'I will either go with Labour or National and that he'll work through that process,"' Ms Ardern said.

Mr Peters has said he won't begin coalition talks until after the special votes are counted on October 7th.

But on Monday he said he would meet with Ms Ardern and National leader Bill English later this week.

Newshub.