Election 2023: New Zealand First leader Winston Peters expects coalition deal in 'less than two weeks', could walk away from talks

  • 07/11/2023

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters expects coalition talks could be wrapped-up in less than two weeks and believes the time it takes to form a Government here is "ridiculously short".  

He has also flagged that New Zealand First could walk away from talks, saying that when parties enter discussions, "we walk into negotiations on the basis that you might lose, you might not go there in the end".   

Peters made the comments in an interview with NBR on Tuesday, several days after the final official election results showed his New Zealand First party is required by National and ACT to cross the 62-seat threshold and form a Government.   

He told NBR that on October 14 this "was the likely, most certain outcome" of the election once special votes were added in. Preliminary results showed National and ACT could govern alone, but National often loses a seat or two on specials, which it did.   

Asked if it had been possible to fast-track talks prior to the final election results coming out, Peters said: "Not if people had the view that they had." 

"They thought they did not know the result. New Zealand First's view on October 14 was that we did know the result that would stand after the special votes were counted," he told NBR.  

Peters told NBR the time taken to form a Government here was "ridiculously short compared to other countries".  

"I think we can get it right and make sure we have got it right in a timely fashion. It's not long when you are asking people to wait a matter of less than maybe two weeks."  

He said he expected it would be resolved before the next two weeks "most definitely".   

Ministerial roles were "up for negotiation if we decided to go down that pathway".   

"We walk into negotiations on the basis that you might lose, you might not go there in the end," he said. 

"You go there with the right purpose, but if you wanna be true to yourself and the people who voted for you have got to have that view as well, that this might not happen. We'll do the best we can to make sure it happens though if we can."  

There are whispers of a draft agreement between National and ACT being drawn up, but Newshub understands that, at least of Monday, there was no document near agreement stage.  

"I'm not going to get into any of it. What we've got is some good conversations happening with both parties," National's Christopher Luxon said on Monday.  

ACT leader David Seymour told AM on Monday that sitting on the crossbenches is still an option for him. 

"All of those options are possible. We're not going to start ruling things out through media but we'll see where we get to with that debate."