The coalition negotiations are over and an official signing will take place tomorrow, according to a joint statement from National Party leader Christopher Luxon, Act leader David Seymour and NZ First leader Winston Peters.
In the statement, the leaders said: “Negotiations to form a government that will deliver for all New Zealanders have concluded.
“The parties are now going through their respective party processes for final sign-off and we expect that process to be completed this evening.
“Subject to agreement by all parties, a signing ceremony will take place tomorrow at Parliament.”
An impasse over who will take the Deputy Prime Minister’s role was resolved earlier today.
However, it remains unclear what the outcome of the decision on the deputy PM role is.
The Deputy Prime Minister post was one of the last sticking points in the talks. A source said earlier it was now resolved and the final deals were “extraordinarily close” but there were still some drafting and re-writing changes to make.
Once Act, NZ First and National all agree to their agreements, NZ First and National will have to run them past the party boards for final approval. Act leader David Seymour has already run the main elements of his agreement past his board, saying that met the requirements under the party’s constitution.
However, the Act caucus will need to meet on it.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER THE LIVEBLOG
The Banquet Hall in Parliament appears to have been set up in anticipation of that announcement, including a table with three chairs behind it and a line of New Zealand flags.
There has been speculation that the parties were looking at a co-deputy model, or splitting the role over the next three years so Seymour and NZ First leader Winston Peters serve consecutively.
Those options were not ruled out by Luxon or Seymour this morning. This morning, Luxon had arrived at Parliament saying he believed the deal was close after further work on it last night.
“We’re very, very close and we’ll continue to close it out.”
Good news ahead? A grinning Winston Peters on his way to Wellington ahead of potential coalition deal. Photo / Michael Neilson
The NZ First caucus is also in Wellington, other than Casey Costello who is campaigning in Port Waikato. The Act caucus has also been holding fairly regular online caucus meetings, and will have to meet to be consulted on it.
NZ First leader Winston Peters arrived in Wellington at midday, saying nothing to reporters as he arrived.
However, it is understood the parties have now settled on the outcome for ministerial positions, including deputy Prime Minister.
Seymour had previously said that he had a claim to it, given his party was larger than NZ First. However, it also remains possible he has ceded it to Peters in return for some more significant portfolios.
Earlier today, Seymour was asked if a shared deputy Prime Minister option was in the offing. “Look, it could well be. It depends what’s going on in negotiations and I can’t pre-announce or reveal exactly how those negotiations are going.
“But lots of people put lots of options on the table, and I’m sure that at least one of them will end up being the final deal.
“In a negotiation, you explore every avenue to try and reach consensus.”
Act leader David Seymour arriving at Wellington Airport yesterday. Photo / Adam Pearse
Asked what avenue was looking most likely, Seymour said “oh look, it’s partly Seymour Street, we’ll see exactly where we end up at the end.”
When it was pointed out that sounded as if he had got the deputy job, he said that could be “a little bit of over enthusiasm, possibly involved in breakfast cereals”.
However, he did say he was happy with where things were at.
Asked if he’d be happy to share the role with Peters, he said he could not get into the exact working of it. “But what I do know if that if there’s going to be a deal like that, that’s one of the possibilities that’s been floated. But there could well be totally different ones too.”
He said he saw no reason a deal could be concluded today, but until it was signed on the dotted line “I’m just another guy saying ‘I hope it happens soon.’”
He said that he was “pretty happy” about where things were at, without getting into the nitty-gritty of the discussions.
Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you