Poised to de­cide power

Sunday News - - NEWS -

Peters is ex­pected to make it a con­di­tion of any deal that the age be rolled back to 65. Peters will also want to build on the legacy of his Su­per Gold Card, which of­fers over 65s free off-peak pub­lic trans­port as well as other con­ces­sions. Peters cam­paigned on a big boost to the Gold Card, in­clud­ing $800-$1000 on av­er­age per year tax-free though it is not spelt out whether that is on in­come or other spend­ing. The card would be up­graded to re­sem­ble a loy­alty card and would also be a debit card with an e-wal­let pay­ment sys­tem. Other ex­tras in­cluded three free doc­tors vis­its a year, one free eye test and dis­counts on power bills dur­ing win­ter.

Among other pledges, Peters recom­mit­ted this week to stand­ing by the fam­i­lies of the Pike River men who lost their lives and re-en­try into the mine to try and re­trieve the bod­ies will be a non-ne­go­tiable.

But Labour will also have to make some big con­ces­sions. Peters ran a hard­line against Labour’s con­tentious wa­ter tax and wants that reined in, ex­cept for a tax on wa­ter bot­tlers.

Peo­ple who know Peters well ex­pect him to seek a min­is­te­rial war­rant as the price of his sup­port – and for­eign af­fairs and rac­ing are ex­pected to have the in­side run­ning.

Peters has held both port­fo­lios and they are still his first love.

The same insiders also be­lieve Peters will still see the Greens as a big stum­bling block to any deal with Labour. He would be more likely to de­mand their ex­clu­sion than not, said one.

Peters told New­stalk ZB yes­ter­day that mak­ing a de­ci­sion by Thurs­day – his self-im­posed dead­line was still com­pletely doable.

‘‘It was al­ways go­ing to change and so the spe­cial votes were al­ways im­por­tant for that rea­son and know­ing the facts now as we have them puts us in a bet­ter per­spec­tive to make judg­ments,’’ Peters said.

Ardern said she was con­fi­dent she would be­come Prime Min­is­ter, adding she would be ‘‘proud’’ to lead a Labour-GreenNZ First coali­tion and yes­ter­day’s re­sult strength­ened the man­date for change.

English said the fi­nal re­sult makes it clear Na­tional has fin­ished 10 seats ahead of the Labour Party and ahead of the Left block group­ing.

‘‘It would have been nice to keep those two seats, two ex­cel­lent mem­bers that are rep­re­sented, but it doesn’t change the cal­cu­la­tion. Na­tional is still the largest party,’’ English told me­dia in Queen­stown.

‘‘The fun­da­men­tals haven’t al­tered, and that is Na­tional have sig­nif­i­cantly more seats than Labour, and more than a Labour/Green com­bi­na­tion.’’

Cater­ers will be work­ing over­time in the Bee­hive to­day as talks get un­der­way on neu­tral ter­ri­tory – a meet­ing room be­tween the Bee­hive and Par­lia­ment build­ings on level two – where all par­ties agreed in pre­lim­i­nary talks last week that room would con­tinue to be used for for­mal ne­go­ti­a­tions.

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