Winston Peters: It won't be known on Thursday who the new government is
Winston Peters says no announcement will be made about the next government on Thursday - a self-imposed deadline the NZ First leader has maintained since the election.
Peters said back in July that a decision would be made public on October 12 but on Tuesday night he said there were "other arrangements" to be made first.
"Our target is to complete all these discussions by Thursday night - nothing's changed."
"We've got a few logistical things to work out but as soon as possible after that."
Asked if an announcement was likely by Friday, Peters said, "no, I didn't say that".
"I've got other arrangements and people to first of all organise themselves and ourselves as well."
Peters said an announcement would be made as soon as possible after Thursday night but it also "depends on other parties" and he couldn't "answer for them".
'DISAPPOINTMENT AND ANGUISH'
Peters also says he's aware whatever decision NZ First makes in coming days it will cause "disappointment and anguish".
The NZ First leader posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday thanking the public for their "continued interest" and said the party was working towards a decision "as fast as we can".
"For obvious reasons we cannot talk publicly of what we have discussed at this stage. We are all sworn to secrecy to ensure we have frank and open discussions.
"You will all know as well as us that whatever decision we make it will cause disappointment and anguish. That's reality and there is no escaping that," Peters said.
When the choice is made about the next government it would be done in the "greater interests of this country and its future," he said.
"We want the best for our country."
Speaking to the media after his second meeting of the day with Labour, Peters said he posted the comments because they were a "fact".
"It's not anything other than sharing with them that we're seriously working on the various policies that other parties have got that may be relevant or may not be relevant to our final decision. But whatever that decision is we know it will disappoint some people, that's just a fact," he said.
Asked whether he was feeling a lot of weight on his shoulders, he said "all my colleagues do and so will the board".
At the end of the day Peters said the party had to make a decision and they were "hardened" to it.
"This is not the All Blacks hitting the field, this is politics, and before you even get on the paddock there's a whole lot of people who don't want you to be there. Some want you to be there, some want you to win, some want you to fail - that's politics and we're being realistic about it."
Peters said he was feeling fine given the early starts and late finishes over the last few days - "I'm used to it, I came off a farm".
Peters expects to meet with both National and Labour twice on Wednesday and the NZ First board is on standby for when a decision is made by the caucus.
He wouldn't comment on how much policy the parties had got through other than to say there was a "fair way to go yet".
"Other parties are still reporting back to us and vice versa as to the things we've had discussions on, we're comparing notes and costings and things so we just can't make that sort of judgement at the moment," he said.
Ardern and her team emerged from their second bout of negotiations just after 6pm. A two hour stint that she also characterised as "positive".
"Another positive meeting, we continue to work through policy priorities for both parties - really constructive and we'll be meeting again tomorrow," she said.
But Ardern would not answer questions over Shaw's comments or how Labour's talks with the Greens - being conducted in parallel with NZ First's negotiations - were progressing.
GREENS AND NZ FIRST AT ODDS
Greens leader James Shaw says his team tried to strike up a relationship with NZ First but Winston Peters has no knowledge of it.
Shaw told media following an almost two-hour meeting with Labour that his staff had contacted Peters' office to say they were available for a meeting if they wanted one.
But Peters' was unaware of it when he answered questions after a more than 2.5 hour meeting with the National Party negotiating team.
"I'm not aware of that...I have no knowledge of that being requested of me at all."
Peters said he'd been clear from the beginning he would have talks with both National and Labour and he hadn't "deviated from that".
He didn't think it was necessary to sit down with Shaw given the Greens and Labour had a memorandum of understanding and had campaigned together.
"We didn't campaign with any other party, the rest did. For months and months, in fact for years, they've all campaigned together - hugging each other, embracing each other and loving each other - we didn't."
Shaw said he was happy for Labour to take the lead on negotiations because it had always been the process that the bigger party did so.
Asked if there was to be a coalition would he sit down with Peters, Shaw said "at some point I assume you've got to get in a room together with the people you're going to go into coalition with".
However he went on to say it's "Labour's responsibility to put the government together, that's their job and they seem to be doing a pretty good job of it," he said.