The shape-shifting NZ First-Labour document

One puzzle can now be solved in the case of New Zealand First's shape-shifting coalition agreement with Labour - its length.

The first mention of an addendum to the coalition agreement, much longer than the version released to the public, was made by Winston Peters during a press conference on October 25. He said the 38-page addition would be released "at some point". 

Monday morning, a representative for the Prime Minister said there was no other agreement with New Zealand First - at least, not officially.

By the end of the day, the 38-page document that kind of exists was referred to as 33 pages long by Mr Peters. 

But no, the Prime Minister said, it still wouldn't be released, because it's not held by the Prime Minister's office and it's not being used to inform ministers. 

The claim is everyone was wearing their Party hats, not Government hats, when they last referred to the document, and it's therefore not an "official" document.

Today, the document is down to 32 pages and while the contents remain a mystery, at least we now know why it's changed in length.

No, fiscal conditions didn't strike some points off the list. 

The font size was changed.

"One of the secretaries would have looked at the document and thought 'That font's a bit large. We can take it down to, what, 10?'," Mr Peters told reporters at Parliament on Tuesday  

"And that's how it went from 38 down to 32.

"You never asked the question, such a simple explanation," he mused, before offering some advice on font sizes. ("If you want to sit around a room where people understand quickly, you want a larger font, because people do grasp it more quickly.")

The real question, though, isn't why the document's changed size - it's what's in the document? 

Will it guide Government decisions? Why can't we read it? 

Don't New Zealanders have a right to know what might be coming their way?

"It is ludicrous and they should release it," Opposition leader Bill English told The AM Show on Tuesday morning. "I think they're just creating a lot of fuss by not releasing it.

"I'm sure if they listen to themselves, they'll wonder why they're sitting on it."

Mr Peters claims it won't be released yet, because the Government is working out how viable the contents are.

"We don't know what the state of the economy is," he said. "I personally don't believe that what the Government's said about the health of the economy was right.

"In that light, you work on a policy on the basis - can we stack this up, and make it a goer and fund it? Until all those things, we won't be able to release all the things we were engaged on."

"There's nothing secretive nor non-transparent about it at all."


Contact Newshub with your story tips: