As-it-happened: Day 10 of negotiations

It's 24 days since the election, and deliberations on the formation of the 52nd New Zealand Government continue.

Tuesday saw discussions continue for a second day with the NZ First board.

Then, in a bizarre charade, Mr Peters attempted to give reporters the slip by leaving Parliament, hopping in a car and driving to the Parliament carpark.

He then met with Jacinda Ardern and Bill English in one-on-one meetings.

7:46pm - Secret meetings

Mr Peters appeared to leave Parliament earlier this afternoon, speaking to media and hopping in a car, only to drive to the Beehive's underground carpark.

He then met with Bill English and Jacinda Ardern in two separate one-on-one meetings.

More here.

4:50pmNo decision today

Winston Peters says the NZ First board has almost reached a consensus when it comes to policy arrangements with each party but said the board haven't discussed which party they would side with.

Mr Peters was giving himself wriggle-room on his extended self-imposed deadline, saying he "always was" on track for announcing the next Government this week, but said "of course that's in other people’s hands, not just mine."

He said the party is "trying to bring the matter to finality as fast as we can".

"There's serious consensus on what policies we've put to both sides and how far we've got."

Mr Peters said once the board have signed off on policy, discussions will take place with both Labour and National and the offer will again be taken to the NZ First board and caucus.

"When we've got the policy wrapped up, we talk to both sides about what it is that they want and then a discussion will develop from that to take to the NZ First board and caucus," Mr Peters told media.

He said nine permutations of government are still on the table "right until the end".

As-it-happened: Day 10 of negotiations
Photo credit: Newshub

4:25pm - NZ First board members leaving Parliament

Two NZ First board members have left Parliament on Thursday afternoon, on day two of the board's discussions.

3:50pm - Audio from Bill English police interview released

The police recording of its interview with Bill English has been released.

You can listen to the interview here.

Police interviewed Mr English about the Todd Barclay recording scandal in April 27.

Mr Barclay was facing allegations of secretly recording his staff member Glenys Dickson. Mr English told police Mr Barclay had told him of the recording.  

The recording was initially released to Fairfax under the Official Information Act, and has since been obtained by Newshub.

3:45pm - NZ First meeting nears the 7-hour mark

The NZ First board have been meeting today for a marathon 6 hours and 45 minutes. That's on top of Monday's all-day meeting.

The only NZ Firster seen this afternoon is Kirsty Christison - Tracey Martin's sister - enjoying a spot of sunshine outside Parliament. She was on the negotiation team as the note-taker, but it's her last day today. 

11:55am - No deadline for forming a Government

There is no formal deadline by which a Government has to be formed.

There is, however, a date by which Parliament must meet. That's November 23 - two months after the election.

It would be possible for a vote of confidence to be triggered during the Parliamentary session, but Professor Andrew Geddis from Otago University says that's highly unlikely.

If National, for example, was to call for a vote of confidence, it would force NZ First to decide where its support lies. NZ First would be unlikely to back whichever party forced its hand, Geddis said, meaning it would likely support Labour into power instead.

If NZ First didn't back either party in the above scenario, the Governor General would be likely to call a new election. That would be likely to destroy whichever party forced the expensive new election.

The November 23 deadline for Parliament to meet is simply to prevent MPs taking a long hiatus before the new year.

In 1999, Mr Peters took two months to form a coalition agreement with National, and in the meantime, the caretaker Government met formally.

If there is no vote of confidence called, the caretaker Government can carry on as long as is needed.

11:00am - Tracey Martin hits out at David Seymour

Earlier this morning NZ First MP Tracey Martin hit out at David Seymour, who criticised her party's leader for 'letting down the country' during the coalition negotiation process.

Ms Martin called the ACT leader "Mr 1%" who has been "paid for nothing".

10:30am - Dunne hits out at negotiation process

Former United Future leader Peter Dunne says the major parties are scared of upsetting Winston Peters.

He said the negotiation process has been "back to front" with NZ First driving the process rather than the major parties.

Mr Dunne said it raises questions about the negotiation process and whether there should be a different system where the Governor General invites the largest party to try to form a government first.

9:30am - A cryptic message from Shane Jones    

NZ First MP Shane Jones had a cryptic message for Newshub political editor Patrick Gower today, telling him to look up proverbs 29:14.

The quotation is: "If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will be established forever."

It could be a message that if Winston Peters looks out for the downtrodden, NZ First will prosper.

Mr Jones said negotiations with the board are a "work in progress but everyone should be confident. Soon the monarch butterfly will emerge."

9:19am - Coalitions overseas

As an interesting aside, last week the Dutch formed a Government after seven months of talks. Four political parties make up the coalition - the center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, the conservative Christian Democratic Appeal, the liberal D66 and the conservative Christian Union.

9am - Major parties are not 'lap dogs'

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern this morning argued the major parties are not bending to NZ First.  

She would not say whether Labour has said no to any requests.

"There's been a lot of commentary around how this is something that somehow the major parties are... 'lap dogs' of the situation. I really push back on that.

"In these negotiations we have it within our power to say that these are the things that we're willing to talk about and compromise on, and these are the things that we are not."

Newshub.

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