New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says his party is prepared to spend another term on the cross-benches if it has to.
The Prime Minister announced the election date on Monday and at the same time challenged Mr Peters to be upfront about who he will or won't work with after the 20 September.
Mr Peters told Nine to Noon he will drive a hard bargain in post-election negotiations.
"We're not like the rest who sit by the table and take the crumbs and have (their) heads rubbed. We know what we're going to do before we go into the negotiations."
Mr Peters says while it would not be his preferred option, staying on the cross-benches would enable New Zealand First to keep the system honest and accountable.
He says that when he returned to Parliament after a term out of it he was shocked by how browbeaten the opposition had become by the current government.
"We've put some serious steel into the opposition of late," he says, "and we've kept this government accountable."
Mr Peters reiterated that he will not be making deals with any other parties, or stating a preferred coalition partner, before the election.