18 Nov 2023

Talks to form next government continue in Auckland

4:36 pm on 18 November 2023
Incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon.

Christopher Luxon said meetings would continue Sunday Photo: Nick Monro / RNZ

Coalition talks have wrapped up for the day and are set to resume tomorrow, as New Zealand continues to wait for its new government to take shape more than a month after the election.

"We've got a little more work to do but we keep doing it," National Party leader Christopher Luxon said to media as talks wrapped up before 5pm at Auckland's Cordis Hotel.

"We've had a number of conversations today with both parties which has been good."

Luxon said he will keep going "as long as it takes" and will regroup Sunday.

"We're down to our final set of issues and we're discussing them and making sure that we've got understanding and agreement and alignment around that.

"Tonight we want to make sure that everybody gets a break."

Luxon met with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters in the morning and then briefly again in the afternoon for less than 30 minutes.

"You can get quite a lot done in 30 minutes," Luxon said.

Luxon said he envisaged meeting with both Peters and ACT leader David Seymour again Sunday, but was not sure if all three would meet again or the details of those meetings just yet.

Luxon said ministerial positions were not being discussed yet as policies were the focus.

"We've taken every line item of each of the three parties' manifestos over the last week or so. We've boiled that down, we've gone through that individually with the parties."

The election was 14 October and the final results were released just over a fortnight ago.

Peters is continuing to keep mostly silent on the course of negotiations. He left the Cordis after only half an hour into the second meeting.

Peters did not stop to take questions after the second meeting, only rolling down his car window to hand a reporter a spinning top.

"We're going as fast as we possibly can," he said earlier. "I know everybody's impatient, but we've just got to get this finished."

He did say that he wanted things to finish "ASAP" and that Parliament could "theoretically" start up sooner than the end of November.

He could not say whether today would be his final meeting with Luxon or not.

National's deputy leader Nicola Willis is keeping her party's cards close to the chest about whether its foreign buyers tax will survive coalition talks.

Peters opposes the foreign buyers tax.

Willis would not answer questions about the fate of the tax when she spoke to media between meetings.

"The focus in our discussions has been about policy, about legislation, about the issues that each of us as respective parties took to the election and how we make progress on those things."

Doubts have been raised about whether the foreign buyers tax would raise the predicted $740 million a year to fund National's tax cuts.

Winston Peters arrives at an Auckland hotel for further talks with the National Party.

Winston Peters arrives at an Auckland hotel for further talks with the National Party. Photo: RNZ / Jordan Dunn

Earlier, Luxon said he was having a one-on-one meeting this morning with Peters.

"We'll just keep working our way through it. The topic of conversation gets narrower and we're getting close. We're talking about just closing off a few issues on policy and making sure we really understand what we're all signing up for.

"It's really important, as I said, we started this process looking at all three parties' manifestos, a lot of detail, gone through line item by line item and we've got a couple of issues to close out and that's what we're working through today."

Peters said there will either be one or two deals made - suggesting it will be a single deal among National, New Zealand First and ACT, or two separate deals that the two parties would have with National.

Luxon said yesterday that a deal was "very close", while Peters said it would still take "a few more hours".

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