D-day for talks may be Monday
"It's extraordinarily difficult to meet timelines.'' NZ First leader Winston Peters
NZ First will hold an all day jointcaucus and board meeting on Monday to decide which party to give their support to.
Leader Winston Peters, wearing a tie emblazoned with the acronym ‘‘TGIF’’, told media yesterday that the board members would be flying in to Wellington from all over the country on Sunday evening and Monday morning.
‘‘TGIF’’ stands for ‘‘Thank God It’s Friday.’’
His party could put either National or Labour in power, although Labour would also need the support of the Green Party.
While formal negotiations with the two parties had wrapped up, Peters said he was still in contact with them to nail down fiscal and policy issues.
‘‘We have to get the policy thing cleared up first. And also an understanding of the fiscals. We’ve been through their budgets and our own, and we’ve got to make sure that we do it on the figures we’ve agreed upon,’’ Peters said.
There would be ‘‘constant communications’’ between the parties.
NZ First were holding an allday caucus meeting yesterday.
‘‘We worked overnight and early in the morning with the objective of getting as much completed in terms of a summation both from the caucus’ and the board’s point of view ... making sure we have a very clear idea of what we need from the other parties to make sure there are no doubts,’’ Peters said.
He said the board members had hotels booked in case the meeting went into the night.
However, this did not mean a final decision would necessarily be made public on Monday.
‘‘It’s extraordinarily difficult to meet timelines, particularly on this matter that if you are jamming a timeline against a public statement of a date, and you compromise the quality of your decision, that would not be a very good idea, but we know time is of the essence.’’
He said his comments about the decision being ready ‘‘by the end of next week’’ had been ‘‘seriously misconstrued’’ - he meant the decision would likely be far sooner than that.
However, he was keen to get the decision announced publicly as soon as possible.
‘‘The quicker we make it, the less the chances are of it being leaked,’’ Peters said.
Earlier Peters said he had a ‘‘serious comprehensive dossier’’ from both parties to take to his caucus and board, promising that a new Government would be decided by next Friday.
He has already missed his first self-imposed deadline of Thursday, or ‘‘Writ Day’’.
‘‘I’m very very pleased we’ve got it finished ... there’s some fiscals to be shared to make sure we do agree but the substantive part for discussion of caucus tomorrow has been done,’’ he said following the final negotiation meeting on Thursday.
Green Party leader James Shaw said he had a standing conference call booked with party delegates for every day, so they would be ready to approve the decision as soon as it was ready.
He said negotiations with Labour had mostly finished but there were still some small things to finalise.
‘‘There’s still bits and pieces that we need to tidy up,’’ Shaw said.
‘‘We’re nearing the end stages.’’ He was still keen on a full coalition arrangement with all three parties inside Cabinet.
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern did not answer questions about what steps her party would go through on Friday morning, other than to say ‘‘we have our own process’’.
‘‘Overall this has been a good process that has been followed,’’ Ardern said.
On his way into work on Friday morning new NZ First MP Shane Jones said the amount of time taken to make the decision was reasonable.
NZ First’s Mark Patterson said there would be a lot to get through in the meeting.
‘‘The talks have been conducted with the highest integrity, at my level we haven’t had any visibility of what’s happening,’’ Patterson said.