Election 2023: Winston Peters holds impromptu press conference on coalition talks, says 'speed is of essence'

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has held an impromptu press conference outside his Wellington offices as the wait for a Government to be formed continues.  

Peters came out of his Treasury base on Wellington's The Terrace to take questions and then went back in.  

Before fielding questions, he said he would only speak to the media if he was asked "rational, sane questions" and not about "confidential information".  

Peters said the coalition negotiations were "substantive [and] progressive".  

"It takes a lot of time to get to the detail because the detail has to be cross-matched with other details," Peters said.

He's likely making the point that New Zealand First's negotiations with the National Party are happening in parallel with negotiations between National and ACT.   

While ACT and New Zealand First's Chiefs of Staff met on Wednesday – the first contact between the parties – leaders Peters and David Seymour have yet to get in a room. Seymour is in Wellington on Thursday, meaning a three-way meeting could be on the cards.  

Peters said negotiations have only been going for "four days", noting it was only last Friday that the final election results came.

They showed New Zealand First was needed by National and ACT to form a Government. He said "others" were relying on this information, "but not us".   

The New Zealand First leader has made the point that his party knew it would be needed by National and ACT on election night, even if preliminary results didn't show that.  

Peters said New Zealand First had been "flat out all day and half the darn night trying to get the matters of the negotiations completed".  

"Speed is of the essence. We are not wasting time here. Some of us would like to get back home. We have got other things to do. We have been on the trail for two-and-a-half years."   

The upcoming APEC meeting next Wednesday was weighing on his mind, Peters said, as had the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) meeting that is currently taking place.  

Peters said it was "seriously important" to be at both events. The caretaker deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni and incoming Government observer Gerry Brownlee have gone to PIF.  

Peters said it wasn't unusual that New Zealand First and ACT haven't met extensively, with the focus being on discussions with National.  

He repeated that he didn't respond to a text from Seymour last week because he thought it was a fake. He gets heaps of "looney tune texts", Peters said. He wanted to find out who he was dealing with before responding.   

He said there was a "three-week delay" because people were allowed to enrol on election day. The three weeks it takes for the Electoral Commission to finalise the results also includes counting overseas votes and the votes of those people who were outside of their electorates.  

Newshub understands National is set to meet with New Zealand First again on Thursday, while Seymour told Newshub he had plans to meet with National on Thursday as well.     

When asked if he'll meet with Winston Peters on Thursday, Seymour said his door is open.     

"We've reached out in various ways so remains to be seen but we 're here and we're ready to talk," he said.      

Pushed again to confirm meetings, Seymour said it was his understanding he would be meeting with National on Thursday and teased a possible meeting involving New Zealand First too.    

"We're going to sit down with them (National) and possibly others," he said.