As the Beehive numbers are finalised, parties jockey for position behind Peters’ pensioners. By Jo Moir and Tracy Watkins.
IT’S game on. Negotiations will get under way in earnest this morning as NZ First leader Winston Peters begins four days of meetings to decide with whom he’ll form the next Government.
Peters has headed back to Wellington from his Northland bolthole while National leader Bill English and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern jet in from opposite ends of the country to begin coalition talks, which the NZ First leader maintains will be wrapped up by Thursday.
Both main party leaders will be vying to make an offer Peters can’t refuse without abandoning their core principals in a game of political brinksmanship that plays perfectly into .
After special votes were counted yesterday, National lost two seats and the Greens and Labour picked up one each, meaning a National/NZ First coalition would hit 65 seats while Labour/Greens/NZ First would get 63 seats – two above the seat governing threshold.
But the real winners are expected to be New Zealand pensioners, who will be expecting Peters to drive a hard bargain on their behalf.
National announced earlier this year it would raise the retirement age to 67 in 2030 but