Election 2023: National, New Zealand First caught on camera holding secret meetings in hotel, office 

The freeze between ACT and New Zealand First is possibly starting to thaw with both party's chiefs of staff meeting for the first time.   

While Winston Peters and David Seymour are yet to met, National and New Zealand First were meeting all over Wellington. 

Another day, more silent treatment from Peters.

Newshub was there as he made the long trek across Parliament to meet with the National Party - chief of staff and 2IC in tow.    

The meeting on National Party turf lasted 90 minutes. Then, Peters and his entourage emerged and headed back to their territory.    

He was jovial and even feigned a diversionary sidestep.   

Newshub was asking whether he would allow foreign buyers to purchase property in New Zealand. National wants to let foreign buyers buy property worth more than $2 million and tax them.   

"Is that one of the points of contention at the moment in your talks?" Newshub asked, to which Peters gave no answer.  

And the silence echoed through his party.   

"Do you think you'll have a deal done by this week?" Newshub asked soon-to-be NZ First MP Jenny Marcroft.    

Another NZ First member, Shane Jones, came out to say he was "on my way to a doctor's appointment".

That "doctor" was National's Chris Bishop. The pair met at the nearby Bolton Hotel.   

"I was just catching up with someone in there," Bishop said when Newshub caught up with him.  

Asked if he was catching up with Jones and what was he after, Bishop said: "Not going to comment on any of that."  

Jones then came out of the hotel but he also wouldn't comment on whether NZ First wanted to get rid of the foreign buyers' tax idea.   

And across the road was the architect of that tax policy, National's finance spokesperson Nicola Willis.  

"Is your foreign buyer's tax dead in the water?" Newshub asked.   

"As we've said repeatedly, we're not going to talk about any of those matters," Willis responded. 

The Chiefs of staff were talking too. ACT's had a chance encounter with National's, while also having the first in-person meeting with New Zealand First's - not that anyone's officially talking about it. 

The only thing National would comment on Wednesday was a mistake in counting by the Electoral Commission.   

"It's a shocker and we're really concerned about a number of aspects of the running of this year's election," said Bishop, the party's campaign chair.   

The commission is having to audit its count after admitting hundreds of votes at three booths were wrongly allocated to fringe parties.   

"We do have quality assurance checks to identify this and we picked a lot up - just the human errors that you might expect - but we missed these ones and we shouldn't have," said chief electoral officer Karl Le Quesne.   

It won't change the make-up of Parliament, a place where Peters is playing hide and seek with the press - and occasionally getting found.