Peter Dunne hits out at 'absurd' 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.

He said the major parties are "absolutely" scared of Winston Peters.

"That's not the basis on which to form a Government, you've got to form a Government on the basis of trust and some agreement about direction, not a fear of upsetting someone," he told reporters at Parliament on Tuesday.

Mr Dunne said fear has kept Bill English and Jacinda Ardern quiet over the last couple weeks and it's "absurd".

"They're talking about being leaders, people who can take the country forward, and their starting process is to remain timid about upsetting their likely partner - not a very good way to start a relationship."

He said that after the 1996 election everyone said parallel negotiations should never happen again.

"The fact that's happening again right now really runs the risk of discrediting the whole process."

Mr Dunne hit out at the "vanity" of Winston Peters and New Zealand First and said regardless of who the party chooses "I'm thinking it won't last whatever it is."