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Winston Peters and David Seymour emerge from second meeting

Claire Trevett, Adam Pearse, Michael Neilson, and Kirsty Wynn,
Publish Date
Fri, 10 Nov 2023, 10:53AM
Photo / File
Photo / File

Winston Peters and David Seymour emerge from second meeting

Claire Trevett, Adam Pearse, Michael Neilson, and Kirsty Wynn,
Publish Date
Fri, 10 Nov 2023, 10:53AM

Act leader David Seymour and NZ First leader Winston Peters have gone into a meeting together this morning to discuss the negotiating process, potential sticking points between them and issues on which they can join forces to try to push National further. 

On his way into the meeting, Seymour said the parties would have to commit to supporting each other’s measures or it would not work. 

“A triangle has three sides, so you’ve got to be committed to supporting what both of the parties’ agenda is. Otherwise, mathematically, it doesn’t work, so that all has to be worked through.” 

He would not say what the specifics were, saying the other parties had agreed they would not give blow by blow accounts of the talks “and we have to respect that too.” 

He said whether or not the three-party grouping was the configuration they had wanted, it was what the voters had chosen. 

“In an election in a democracy, the will of the voter is king and queen. And that’s what we respect and work to.” 

The two had their first meeting yesterday afternoon in Act’s offices at Parliament. 

It was a brief 20-minute meeting, which Seymour later said was a “great chat.” 

Now the ice has been broken, more in-depth talks are likely to discuss their joint approach to National as the agreements are put together. 

Issues both sides are keen to discuss include how detailed the agreements should be and issues on which the two might take a united stand to try to push National further. 

One item is likely to be co-governance: both Act and NZ First have stronger positions on that than National, although National opposes co-governance in the public sector. 

Peters was giving nothing away when he arrived for the meeting which is in select committee room near NZ First’s office area at Parliament this morning, saying nothing to waiting media. 

His fellow negotiator Shane Jones was with him and quoted from the Bible. Jones said he was not involved in any “three-way assignations” today and the progress of negotiations “was all in the Bible.” 

“Have patience. I know people may be anxious. But it’s all in the Bible, Galatians 6:9.” 

That verse is “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” 

As yet, the three party leaders are not believed to have met together. 

Last night, NZ First’s negotiating team of Peters, MP Shane Jones and chief of staff Darroch Ball had another round of talks with National, following on from their earlier talks on Wednesday. 

Earlier in the day, National had met again with Act. 

On his way into Parliament this morning, National leader Christopher Luxon said negotiations were “progressing well”. 

He was reluctant to give much away, but appeared positive about the situation. 

”There is a lot more work to do but we are getting there,” he said. 

”There is good intention from all the party leaders to make sure we move through as quickly as we can and build a strong, stable government. 

He declined to answer questions about if there had been a meeting yet involving all three parties, nor about any details of negotiations responding: “I am not getting into any of that”. 

He also declined to answer questions about how long he thought the negotiations could take and if any deal was close. 

But this morning Act leader David Seymour told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking negotiations were “down to brass tacks” and were at the 80m point of a 100m dash.  

Earlier this week he said talks were progressing well and the parties were close to having a draft agreement.  

Seymour described his meeting last night with Peters as “congenial and promising”.  

“We have got to figure out how to work and operate together for three years and I think it is going to go well,” he told Hosking. 

But he said the “real challenge” for the government was dealing with “the mess” left by the last government. 

“The next three years is going to be a challenge for New Zealand.” 

He said he expected “hand grenades throughout the government’s books” such as pay parity for nurses which could be hundreds of millions of dollars a year and tough to bring to balance. 

Asked if there was still a chance a party could pull out and be on the cross benches Seymour said they were still negotiating but hinted they were past that point. 

Hosking asked if they were working as hard as they could to form the government. Seymour said he “worked past midnight last night so I am”. 

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