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20 Feb 2018 18:56
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  •   Home > News > Politics

    Peters meets secretly with PM and Ardern

    NZ First leader Winston Peters has met secretly with Prime Minister Bill English and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern to discuss government formation developments.

    NZ First leader Winston Peters held secret meetings with Prime Minister Bill English and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday night to discuss the process of forming the next government.

    Mr Peters made no mention of any planned meetings when he spoke to media following a day of NZ First discussions about which side NZ First will support.

    But he left the media conference and went to the Beehive, where he met separately with the party leaders.

    A spokeswoman for Mr English confirmed the meeting, but would not comment further.

    Ms Ardern rushed away from the Beehive after her meeting, Newshub reported.

    Mr Peters had previously said NZ First's board had come to a consensus on policy but there were still outstanding issues to be discussed with National and Labour.

    The party's board and caucus met for a second day on Tuesday and Mr Peters is now creating doubt around whether there will be a decision known this week.

    Two proposals to take back to both National and Labour had been almost finalised and there would be further discussions with both leaders, he said.

    "There's a serious consensus on what policies we've put to both sides and how far we've got," he said.

    "When we think we've got the policy wrapped up, every loose end wrapped up, we'll talk to both sides about what it is they want and any discussion will develop from that to take to the NZ First board and caucus."

    Mr Peters said the board and caucus knew which way they were leaning on policy.

    "We've got two sets of policy arrangements. They're obviously different because they're different parties," he said.

    "I didn't say the board was happy with both of those. The board knows precisely what they'll both mean depending on what we do if we take that choice.''

    Further communications with the board won't require them to be in Wellington.

    The party intends to press on to finalise the matter as quickly as possible, but there are now doubts there might be a decision this week.

    "It always was [on track] but of course that's in other people's hands, not just mine," he said, offering a potential loophole to his second promised deadline of the end of this week.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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