Close to crunch time for coalition talks

  • 11/10/2017
Winston Peters
Winston Peters Photo credit: Getty

Negotiations to form the next government are reaching a crucial stage with two days left for talks between NZ First and the main parties.

NZ First leader Winston Peters has pushed out his deadline for an announcement on which side he will back, and now says it will be made "as soon as possible after Thursday night".

He won't go as far as to confirm it will be on Friday.

"Our target is to complete all these discussions by Thursday night," he told reporters on Tuesday night after another round of negotiations with National and Labour.

"We will make it [the announcement] as soon as possible after Thursday night. I've got other arrangements and people to organise."

He apparently means a meeting of his party's board to ratify a decision.

Mr Peters also said the timing depended on the other parties as well, but didn't explain what he meant by that.

If he decides to back Labour and the Greens, an issue could be ratification of the deal by a special meeting of Green Party members, which is one of that party's requirements.

Mr Peters is still insisting that the decision is not his alone to make.

"Winston Peters is not going to make a decision - it is NZ First and it's board," he said.

"I can't speak for the party because I haven't had a chance to speak to them."

He will go into his first meeting on Wednesday with Labour at 9:30am.

Both the main parties previously said the original Thursday deadline was very tight and they wouldn't have a problem if it was extended.