Decision 17: The counting's over, it's time to talk

  • 08/10/2017

Negotiations to form the next Government start on Sunday between NZ First and the two main parties.

NZ First leader Winston Peters wouldn't negotiate with National, Labour or the Greens until special votes had been counted and each party knew how many seats it had.

That was settled on Saturday: National has 56, Labour 46, NZ First nine, the Greens eight and ACT one.

2017 party vote results, and seats in the House.
2017 party vote results, and seats in the House. Photo credit: Newshub.

Talks with National will start at noon on Sunday and with Labour at 3pm. The venue is the same room in Parliament that was used for preliminary discussions last week.

The Opposition parties are in a stronger position than they were on election night when Labour, the Greens and NZ First had a total 61 seats - a bare majority of one vote in the 120-member parliament.

Now they have 63 against a total of 65 for a National/NZ First combination. It's a more even match, and Mr Peters is the kingmaker.

"I think it was always going to change and so the special votes were important for that reason," he told NewstalkZB.

"Knowing the facts, as we now have them, puts us in a better perspective to make judgements."

Mr English says he expects they'll focus more on the economy and issues raised by NZ First rather than the number of seats each party holds. But he still thinks as the largest party, he's in the box seat to stay Prime Minister.

"National is still significantly the largest party, that's been confirmed, and we have a good basis for getting on and forming a government," Mr English said.

"National has 10 seats more than Labour, and more than the Labour/Greens combination."

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says she expects to be the next Prime Minister. She had previously said she wanted more than a single vote majority.

"It was about making sure we were in the position to form a stable, durable Government," she said. "We are in that position."

Green Party leader James Shaw said it was clear voters wanted a change of Government.

"With the Green Party, Labour and New Zealand First combined, there is now a strong majority for change across our Parliament."

Mr Peters has set Thursday as his deadline for announcing a decision on which side he will support. That means there are just four or five days for negotiations to reach a conclusion.

NZN / Newshub.