16 Nov 2023

Winston Peters says meeting with foreign minister disrupted flight to Wellington

3:04 pm on 16 November 2023
Winston Peters arrives at Cordis Hotel in Auckland for talks with the National Party.

Winston Peters arrives at Cordis Hotel in Auckland for talks with the National Party. Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro

Winston Peters says "pretty substantial" progress has been made today, and shed some light on why he never arrived in Wellington on Tuesday.

The New Zealand First leader has been meeting with the National Party today as talks continue for the two parties to form a government with ACT.

National's leader Christopher Luxon this morning said the negotiations were into their final stages, and Peters agreed.

"It's pretty substantial actually," he said, but that it would be "irresponsible" and "premature" to put a time on when the government might be formed.

"I can't say because it's in the hands of others as well. But what we're going to do is make sure that we get to the end of it as soon as we possibly can. And that's what we've been doing night and day.

"We're going to try and resolve this with the greatest haste possible and possibly four months and three weeks faster than the last German government was formed."

He also shed some light on why he did not return to Wellington on Tuesday.

"I was down in Wellington all of the previous week, as you know, and then I had a meeting that was occasioned by a request from an overseas foreign minister who was coming out of PIF in Rarotonga and heading off to APEC and he wanted to see me in Auckland.

"So I had to cancel five flights to fit in with him, I was never going to Wellington in that consequence, and both Mr Seymour and Mr Luxon know that.

"I don't know why I'm hearing all this nonsense."

Luxon had in the morning disputed some of the reporting around Peters' presence in Auckland on Tuesday.

Peters was also asked if - as some reports suggested - he had been offended by a document the National Party gave him last week.

"Next question," he said.

ACT leader David Seymour is expected to be meeting with Luxon this evening.

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