Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters have 'excellent chemistry' - Andrew Little

Talk of a rift between the Government's coalition members "spun a wee bit out of control" this week, says Andrew Little.

The Justice Minister told Newshub Nation on Saturday morning while it was a surprise to have New Zealand First demand a referendum on abortion right before the Bill's first reading, it "doesn't mean anything" in terms of their working relationships.

"I can't account for NZ First's collective behaviour. The members of the NZ First I deal with, when I deal with them one-on-one, is excellent."

He has been working for several months on updating New Zealand's abortion laws alongside NZ First senior MP Tracey Martin. At no time did she bring up the possibility of a referendum - because, in her words, it was never brought up by her party's caucus.

But the party's MPs voted to demand a referendum, and as a result will be introducing a supplementary paper after the second reading, should the Bill get that far.

Little told Newshub Nation host Simon Shepherd NZ First was welcome to try, and defended Martin.

"Tracey is someone who acts with absolute and utter integrity. I absolutely trust her and we've forged a good relationship. We'll proceed with this legislation. If NZ First wants to put a referendum up, let them put it up. They can stand in the queue with everybody else."

Before the two parties formed their coalition in 2017, Little described NZ First leader Winston Peters as a "blowhard" and accused him of "swinging dicks"

But on Saturday he said Labour and NZ First have since "forged an excellent relationship", and doubts the latest friction will cause issues in the 2020 campaign.

"[Prime Minister] Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters have an excellent chemistry, in my view."



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