Government insists there is no 'secret document' with NZ First

Government insists there is no 'secret document' with NZ First
Photo credit: Newshub.

The Government insists there is no 'secret' longer version of its coalition agreement with New Zealand First.

But just over a month ago, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told a room full of journalists there is a 38-page addendum to the coalition agreement with Labour.

The National Party says that agreement needs to be released.

During the 25 October press conference, Patrick Gower asked Mr Peters whether there's a 38-page addendum that will be released.

Mr Peters responded, "Yes. It's going to be released at some point, but the reality is that these are projects the Prime Minister will explain better than I, and it's her responsibility to explain it.

"These are directives to ministers with accountability and media strategies to ensure that the coalition works not in a jealous, envious way: 'We got this and they got that', but as a government successively, cohesively working.

"We've put a lot of thought into it. In fact, day one of our negotiations that was the first subject we raised: 'How are we going to handle a cohesive coalition arrangement?'"

Newsroom requested the document under the Official Information Act but was refused. That refusal is now being taken to the Ombudsman.

Leader of the Opposition Bill English says the Government is not showing the openness and accountability it promised.

"It is unacceptable for the Prime Minister to claim it's not public information. It is, and the public deserves to know how the new Coalition, and therefore the country, will be run," Mr English said in a press release.

The coalition agreement with New Zealand First is just seven pages long - the same length as Labour's confidence and supply arrangement with the Greens.

Both the Prime Minister's office and the office of Mr Peters have been asked for clarification about what document Mr Peters was referring to during the press conference.