Netizen 24 NGA: Coalition talks close to finishing line

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Coalition talks close to finishing line

Coalition talks close to finishing line

Negotiations that will determine whether National or Labour leads the next government are close to the finishing line.

11 October 2017

Negotiations between NZ First and the main parties to form the next government are close to the finishing line.

A fourth day of talks has just wrapped up with NZ First leader Winston Peters saying the final sessions with National and Labour will take place on Thursday.

He has previously said there will be a decision on Thursday night, but it's not clear whether it will be the final one.

"What we will be able to do is sit down as a caucus and say 'this is what we can present to the party'," he told reporters.

The next step will be a presentation to NZ First's board , but that won't happen tomorrow night.

Mr Peters hasn't confirmed when he will make a public announcement on which of the main parties will lead the next government.

Asked whether he would make the announcement, or the leader of the winning party, he replied: "We haven't even considered that."

Mr Peters said there would have to be a "serious consensus" from the board before a decision was announced.

The parties have been talking since Sunday, with National and Labour working on the concessions NZ First wants that would allow its policies to be fully or partly implemented by the next government.

Mr Peters and his negotiating team held two meetings with National and two with Labour on Wednesday, going into the night.

"We've got a whole day of negotiations to go through tomorrow, probably the most substantive day we will have on that score," he told reporters.

"I can't answer the ques tions about what happens after that, because these talks may well determine that."

Mr Peters said the negotiations had focused solely on policy.

Ministerial positions for himself and his MPs hadn't been discussed.

"We have never mentioned anything about personal preferment or positions at all," he said.

"It will be policy all the way up until tomorrow night."

It appears from Mr Peters comments that ministerial positions aren't part of the bargaining, and will be decided after the decision is made.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said after her team's meetings that policies important to both parties were being worked through.

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