Christopher Luxon still refusing to rule out NZ First coalition after Chris Hipkins says no to working with Winston Peters

Christopher Luxon is still refusing to rule out a coalition with NZ First after October's election. 

Chris Hipkins, the Labour leader, has said his party wouldn't work with NZ First despite the two parties forming a coalition in 2017. Hipkins has accused NZ First leader Winston Peters of running a divisive campaign. 

But National leader Luxon still won't say whether he would work with Peters. 

"I haven't thought about Winston Peters and New Zealand First, they haven't been in Parliament - they haven't been [polling] consistently above the 5 percent thresholds," Luxon said during a pre-election interview with Newshub Nation. 

"What I'm focused on is making sure New Zealanders understand there's an awful lot at stake this election and I don't want any New Zealander watching this show to think that they are helping, or voting for, any other party other than the National Party." 

Luxon said his focus was on trying to change the Government. 

"If you want a guaranteed change of Government, you have to party vote National and then you'll have a strong and stable Government on the other side. 

"We're given an MMP system in New Zealand, right? New Zealand's voted for it twice, this is the system that we have - my job on this side of the election is to make sure I'm maximising the vote for the National Party by demonstrating to people how I can rebuild the economy and, on the other side, you can trust us that we can go and make it work. 

"A National/ACT Government has worked well in the past, David Seymour and I have a good personal relationship, we are very aligned about changing the Government, fixing the economy, law and order, health and education... The thing I think you need to do in an MMP environment is party vote National." 

In the past, National leaders have ruled out Peters - John Key did before the 2008 and 2011 elections, and Simon Bridges did in the lead-up to the 2020 election before he was replaced. 

But, so far, Luxon has only ruled out working with Te Pāti Māori and the newly formed Brian Tamaki-led Freedoms NZ party.  

However, he continued to insist he hadn't given Peters "any thought". 

"I will make a coalition work and what I'm saying is the most likely scenario is, you've now seen for six months, nine months of polls, is it will be a National/ACT Government," Luxon said. 

"We will work constructively, very positively together and importantly, New Zealand will have a strong Government that will actually get the country turned around. 

"I haven't thought about New Zealand First, they don't come into my consideration." 

Peters and NZ First were kicked out of Parliament after the 2020 election when the party received just 2.6 percent of the vote.

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