9 Nov 2023

NZ First leader Winston Peters, ACT leader David Seymour meet at Parliament

5:41 pm on 9 November 2023
NZ First leader Winston Peters and Darroch Ball departing ACT headquarters on 9 November, 2023.

Winston Peters at Parliament today. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

The leaders of New Zealand First and ACT have briefly met, in a significant breakthrough in negotiations for the next government.

The Parliament precinct has been a hive of activity today, with the party leaders of National, ACT and New Zealand First all on site.

In a significant development just before 4.40pm, Winston Peters and chief of staff Darroch Ball were seen entering the ACT Party's temporary offices at Parliament's library. They left about 10 minutes later.

Peters refused to comment on the nature or tone of the meeting. Asked for a timeline on a potential deal, he replied: "God, you guys are very trying".

He had earlier been seen exiting a lift near National's offices, and was later seen heading to the Beehive.

Speaking to RNZ, Seymour confirmed the pair spoke and said it was a "good chat".

It is the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since the election, and follows repeated attempts from Seymour to set one up.

NZ First and ACT's chiefs of staff also met in Wellington yesterday for the first time since the election.

Seymour and Peters have had a frosty relationship, often trading barbs during debates and on the campaign trail.

NZ First's caucus has been meeting in its own temporary offices on the Terrace, across the road, this week, but Peters' and his second-in-command Shane Jones' presence at Parliament is a shift.

Peters has typically avoided reporters since the talks have been under way, but answered some questions on Thursday afternoon - saying negotiations were substantial and "speed is of the essence".

The three party leaders have talked about the need to meet together, and while all were present at Parliament today none would confirm whether that would be today, or tomorrow.

After the official election result on Friday last week, ACT leader David Seymour said he would want to see any deal National made with NZ First before he signed off on his own agreement.

ACT's David Seymour arrives at Wellington Airport on 16 October 2023 following the election at the weekend.

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

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