Patrick Gower: Government still some time away

OPINION: Don't believe what you read in a New Zealand First press release - a decision on a Government is not going to come tonight.

New Zealand First implied its board would come to a decision today and has issued a statement saying that meeting will take several more hours tonight.

But my sources in both National and on the Labour-Greens side say there won't be any deals tonight.

For instance, the Greens have not called their Tele-conference tonight.

The mechanics of how any Government will work have not been sorted out.

It's been 23 days since the election and there's been nine days of negotiations to form the Government.

For all that time the Labour Leader hasn't wanted to say a word, for fear of saying something that could upset Winston Peters.

Bill English is exactly the same. He stays on lockdown in the Beehive, afraid of upsetting Winston Peters.

Yet in a rare public appearance, English revealed the board don't actually have the final offers on the table.

"Well, I'm just saying that there are still issues relating to the formation of the Government that need to be discussed. The fact that New Zealand First is having their board meeting doesn't mean that there is completed agreements that they will be looking at."

So what do they have?

  • Both National and Labour have agreed on policy platforms - what a joint Government would do.

  • They have yet to agree on how the Government would be arranged. The Greens are needed on this too. It could range from a  full coalition, where Winston Peters is Deputy Prime Minister to what's called the cross-benches, where New Zealand First votes issue-by-issue.

  • They are yet to agree on Government jobs - Ministers and the like, which include the baubles of office, like power, more pay and chauffeur-driven limousines.

The waiting game goes on.

Patrick Gower is Newshub's political editor.