The deputy leaders of both Labour and National have praised Winston Peters, defending the king-maker after he missed his own deadline to make NZ First's intentions known.
After election night results made it clear NZ First was in a position to choose the next Government, Mr Peters said negotiations would begin once the results were finalised - October 7 - and he'd have his mind made up by October 12.
But he now says it could be another week, as the NZ First board wasn't able to meet and make a decision this week due to unexpected funeral arrangements.
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Appearing on The AM Show on Thursday, both Labour's Kelvin Davis and National's Paula Bennett stuck up for the man Newshub political editor Patrick Gower says is holding them hostage.
"I don't think it is proper to rush things just because of some deadline set a couple of weeks back," said Mr Davis. "I've got no complaints. It's the way it is."
Ms Bennett said people would complain if it was just up to Mr Peters.
"I'm not here to stick up for him completely, but you do go, he'd be damned if it was just Winston making the decision," she said. "And now that he's got a process he needs to go to, to make sure he's actually getting the right advice and going and talking to everybody, you're kind of all slaying him for that as well."
She said other countries "take hundreds of days" to form a government, probably referring to Germany, which went to the polls the day after New Zealand. Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested it could take until next year for a coalition to be agreed upon.
"I think a couple of weeks is probably alright," said Ms Bennett.
Both Mr Davis and Ms Bennett said the discussions so far have focused exclusively on policy - not positions. It's been widely speculated Mr Peters may demand the Deputy Prime Minister role - shutting out Mr Davis and bumping Ms Bennett from her present job.
"We just haven't gone there. It's just been about policy and nothing else," said Mr Davis.
"We've just discussed policy," said Ms Bennett. "It hasn't been the talks about the jobs and things."
Once NZ First has made its decision, just who'll make the announcement - Mr Peters, Bill English or Jacinda Ardern - hasn't been decided.
"Dunno," said Mr Davis. "I heard you earlier saying it's probably going to be Winston. Who knows how it's all going to pan out?"
"It's not really the most important thing right now," said Ms Bennett.
If NZ First does decide to change the Government, the Green Party could be a spanner in the works - it would have to get 75 percent approval from its members to approve the deal.
Neither Mr Davis nor Ms Bennett would reveal any details about the discussions they've had with Mr Peters and NZ First.