Lloyd Burr: NZ waits while NZ First board apply for day off

NZ First leader Winston Peters with MP Shane Jones.
NZ First leader Winston Peters with MP Shane Jones. Photo credit: Getty

OPINION: "Excuse me, boss, but can I have the day off? I need to choose the next government".

That's apparently the question New Zealand First Members have yet to sort out - and the reason why New Zealand will have to wait for a government.

Winston Peters has long signalled that today - October 12 - would be the day when he'd confirm his decision about a preferred coalition partner.

But Peters and the New Zealand First president are now saying the decision might be delayed.

Why? Because it has to be approved by the party's board, and President Brent Catchpole says those board members need to arrange time off work.

At 1:32pm today, Catchpole told Newshub: "It's a possibility it won't be until Monday because people will have to take a day off work and notify their bosses."

Yep, the formation of the next government is contingent on the bosses of some of the 12 people approving a leave form.

That's despite all of them knowing for three weeks that Mr Peters was planning to make a decision by today.

Surely, then, the party would have been planning for the board to meet today? Obviously not.

At 3:03pm, Peters started saying funerals were apparently the issue - despite not mentioning this earlier, and in contradiction to Catchpole.

For a party that's campaigned on common sense, it does not make sense.

How could New Zealand First not have arranged this before today?

It is not credible to suggest such a vital decision could be three days away due to poor planning by the party.

Initially, Winston Peters was going to announce his decision today.

Then he delayed it until after a board meeting tonight.

Then that board meeting shifted to tomorrow.

Now the decision might not be be made until next week.

Is the party so disorganised that it forgot to book flights and accommodation? Or did it just think Winston Peters would make the decision without needing to consult his board?

Whatever the answer, it shows that there's something wrong with the party's communicative process.

Isn't this meant to be the most democratic party in the country? Surely its board should have been ready and prepared for its central role in approving our next Government.

Lloyd Burr is a Newshub political reporter.