Kiwi ‘king­maker’ ex­tends limbo

The Australian - - WORLD - WELLING­TON:

New Zealan­ders’ wait for a gen­eral elec­tion win­ner is set to en­ter a third week, as pop­ulist “king­maker” Win­ston Peters yes­ter­day again de­layed say­ing which party he would back.

New Zealand has been in po­lit­i­cal limbo since the Septem­ber 23 poll failed to de­liver a ma­jor­ity for ei­ther Na­tional party Prime Min­is­ter Bill English or Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.

Each re­quires Mr Peters’ sup­port to pass the 61 seats needed to form a gov­ern­ment, but the 72year-old has drawn out ne­go­tia- tions as he seeks max­i­mum ad­van­tage for his New Zealand First party.

Mr Peters ini­tially had said he would an­nounce his de­ci­sion yes­ter­day, but pushed back that dead­line ear­lier this week.

He then quashed hopes the is­sue would be set­tled to­day, say­ing that was too early to con­vene the NZF board to dis­cuss a po­ten­tial deal with Mr English or Ms Ardern.

“It de­pends upon the lo­gis­ti­cal avail­abil­ity of the board, which could be Satur­day, Sun­day or Mon­day,” he said in Welling­ton.

“It is a pri­or­ity (but) peo­ple do have to come from all over the coun­try.”

Mr Peters would not say what his rec­om­men­da­tion to the NZF board would be.

It is the third time Mr Peters has found him­self in the role of king­maker un­der New Zealand’s pro­por­tional vot­ing sys­tem.

He opted for Na­tional in 1996 in re­turn for be­ing made deputy prime min­is­ter.

In 2005, he backed Labour after it agreed to make him for­eign min­is­ter.

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