Election 2023: Incoming PM Christopher Luxon says 'few issues' with coalition negotiations, 'unlikely' he'll attend APEC

Incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has revealed there have been a "few issues" during coalition negotiations but believes they're still making "good progress".   

It's been 29 days since the general election and 10 days since the final election results were revealed but National, ACT and New Zealand First are yet to finalise a coalition agreement.   

As a result, Luxon told AM on Monday morning it's "increasingly unlikely" he'll attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in San Francisco.  

He said the cut-off to going to APEC is flying out on Wednesday evening.   

"I just say that because I really want to be here on the ground to make sure we actually form a strong and stable government, that has to be my job, number one," Luxon told AM.   

"It would be great to be at APEC for sure don't get me wrong. I want to signal two things at APEC. One would be New Zealand's open for business and we want to hustle in the world and do business and trade with everybody.   

"Secondarily, it's a chance to get to meet some new leaders with some bilaterals, but all of that can happen outside of APEC. So, it would be nice to be at APEC but it's not a must-do. The must-do is actually forming the government."  

Luxon provided an update on the negotiations when he appeared on AM, saying there has been a lot of "intensity" to the meetings and believes talks are making "good progress".  

He also told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green there have been some issues during the negotiations.  

"There's very good intent from all three political leaders to move through this as quickly as we can but it's important that we do it right and this week will be a really important week because we have some outstanding issues that we need to get resolved," he said.   

"Then [we'll] be able to form a strong and stable government and go to work for New Zealanders, which is what we're really trying to get to."  

Luxon said while there have been hiccups, he puts it down to going through the three party's manifestos, which is a "huge amount of work".   

"It's a huge amount of complexity and it's about understanding each party's position, about understanding where they're coming from and in that process, it's actually really good because we get a good understanding of each other," he said.   

"But we've got a few more issues and things to work through over the course of this week. That's quite manageable, I'm confident we'll get there. We've got goodwill, good faith and these conversations have been very productive, very constructive and actually really good to actually form a team that's all going to have to work together."   

Incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon.
Incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon. Photo credit: AM

Luxon told AM he "hopes" National, ACT and New Zealand First can sit down for a combined meeting this week.  

But when asked when he thinks the negotiations could wrap up, Luxon was tight-lipped on a date.  

"We have a series of ongoing meetings. We finished at 2am on Saturday morning and late night on Saturday as well, so it's been full on, but it's been a very productive, good process," he said.  

"We're getting to know each other very well through those conversations. I know New Zealanders want us to get it resolved, but I'm not just signing up with some flatmates. I actually have to sign off and form a strong, stable government, so we're going to do it right and we'll make progress this week." 

Watch the full interview with Christopher Luxon in the video above.