Election 2023: Christopher Luxon announces National has agreed policy programmes with ACT, New Zealand First

National leader Christopher Luxon has announced the party has come to policy agreements with both New Zealand First and ACT.

But the incoming Prime Minister is still refusing to put a timeframe on when a Government could be formed, confirming discussions were ongoing about ministerial appointments.

The revelation that National has struck policy agreements with the two minor parties is, however, a major breakthrough more than five weeks on from the general election and as pressure mounted on Luxon over the length of coalition negotiations.

Winston Peters met with Luxon after the announcement and was later asked to confirm New Zealand First and National had struck a deal regarding policy.

Peters said they were in their "final stages".

"A few crosschecks to go and confirmation that the letters and words are right," Peters said.

Luxon afterwards said there were "crosschecks" needed in terms of bringing all the necessary documents together. He said National and New Zealand First had gone over some "final adjustments" to sentences and language.

Earlier on Monday afternoon, when speaking to reporters at the Cordis Hotel, Luxon said the breakthrough on policy programmes had been made on Sunday night.

"We have achieved a significant milestone overnight. We have closed out and agreed our policy programmes with ACT and also New Zealand First," Luxon said.

He said ACT and New Zealand First had met on Monday so "they can both sign on to each other's policy programmes and agendas we have agreed with them individually".

Luxon said he wanted the two parties to support each other's programmes.

He said he was "very relieved" to have finished that part of the coalition talks.

"It has been a major goal of ours. I appreciate it has taken time. I really do appreciate everybody's patience with the process. But I do believe it will make for a much stronger Government." 

He wouldn't give a timeframe for when a Government could be formed, but said the parties were moving "quickly". Luxon said discussions had got "a lot simpler".

"I am trying to give you a sense that we are now through the major conversations on policies."

Discussions on Monday will be focused on ministerial decisions. Luxon said he didn't expect that to take too long.

"There is very good intention from all three party leaders to resolve this as quickly as possible," Luxon said.

He said there were no policy trade-offs for ministerial positions, but he did say each party had to give up policies throughout the process.

"There was large areas of overlap," Luxon said, including growing the economy, restoring law and order, strengthening democracy and delivering better public services.

"The means to which we deliver those goals have been the bits of discussion and debate along the way."

He said National remained committed to delivering tax relief, but wouldn't say how it means to deliver it or pay for it.

Luxon wouldn't give away what the issues were that held talks up. It's understood that tax and Treaty issues have been sticking points throughout the conversations.

Peters arrived at the Cordis Hotel after Luxon finished speaking, but at that stage wouldn't say much about the deal with National.

Asked if he was pleased with the deal New Zealand First had with National, Peters said that was an "assumption".

"I will tell you later," he said when asked for his reaction.

"I will tell you why I can't tell you now, because I should talk to somebody else before I talk to you guys so everybody is on the same page." 

He then met with Luxon.

Newshub caught Peters entering ACT's offices in Auckland earlier on Monday afternoon with his staffer Darroch Ball. He was inside for roughly an hour.

Upon exiting, Newshub asked Peters what he had been working on with ACT.  

"We are working on getting a coalition together," he said.

He wouldn't say if a deal should be expected this week.

"Oh dear," Peters said as he got in his car.

Asked by Newshub earlier about what he was working on with New Zealand First, ACT leader David Seymour said they were in the "final stages of having an agreement".  

"We have been really happy with the engagement we have had today and just about every day over the last few days," he said.

Seymour said it was "very likely" there would be a deal this week.

He acknowledged talks hadn't developed as quickly as some may have liked, but he said the discussions were "always moving forward".  

Winston Peters arriving at ACT's headquarters in Auckland.
Winston Peters arriving at ACT's headquarters in Auckland. Photo credit: Newshub.

Appearing on AM on Monday morning, Seymour said the three parties were intending to form a three-way coalition, rather than one party being on the out providing confidence and supply. 

"That's certainly been the goal of the negotiations, no one's tried that before. So fierce competitors during the election, constructive cooperatives in a Cabinet, that's quite a transition," he said.   

"This is three parties coming together in a coalition Government. Now, that hasn't been done before. We've had two parties in a coalition with another party sitting off to the side. We've brought together three who were competitors, sometimes fierce competitors."   

Coalition negotiations have now lasted longer than in 2017. Seymour said he understood people are getting "pretty tired" with the length.

"Let me just put this in a bit of perspective. We're going to have a Government for three years that is going to take on some enormous challenges left by our predecessor," he said.   

"I don't think in two years' time, they're going to be grateful that we got the deal done today or Wednesday or Friday. What people will judge us on is can we clean up the economy, the amount of crime, the amount of social division. Those are the real issues."  

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