20 Nov 2023

Policy positions sorted in negotiations between National, ACT and NZ First - Christopher Luxon

3:27 pm on 20 November 2023
National Party leader Christopher Luxon arriving at the Cordis in Auckland on Monday 20 November 2023.

Christopher Luxon speaks to media on Monday. Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro

Policy programmes have been agreed with ACT and New Zealand First, with ministerial positions now being discussed, National Party leader Christopher Luxon says.

Arriving for more talks at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland on Monday afternoon - more than two weeks on from the return of the final vote count without a deal to form a government - he told reporters of the progress being made.

"We've achieved a significant milestone overnight and that is actually that we have closed out and agreed policy programmes with both ACT and New Zealand First, that's a major achievement," he said.

"Importantly we've had ACT and New Zealand First meeting over the course of this last week talking about their major priorities and importantly this morning they've continued those conversations to make sure that they can both sign on to each others' policy programmes and agendas that we've agreed with them individually."

National Party leader Christopher Luxon and deputy leader Nicola Willis arriving at the Cordis on Monday 20 November 2023.

Luxon and Nicola Willis at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland on Monday. Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro

However, it was not the first time those parties had seen some of the details, he said.

"We've also had a series of meetings through the course of the week ... where those parties have been meeting as well and some of the well known major priorities of those agreements have actually been shared with each other before this point as well."

He said he had not heard of any concern by either of the other parties with one another's deals.

"Not at this point but we don't expect that to be a major [problem] given the conversations that have happened already throughout the course of the past week."

Arriving soon after, NZ First leader Winston Peters refused to say whether he was pleased with the deal, and refused to elaborate much further.

"Next question ... you're making an assumption," he said. "I'll tell you why I can't tell you now - because I should talk to somebody else before I talk to you guys so everybody's on the same page."

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters arriving at the Cordis in Auckland on Monday 20 November 2023.

Winston Peters Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro

Luxon refused to elaborate on what the final sticking points on policy had been.

"Those issues will stay in the room," he said.

"All three parties had to make trade-offs along the way, that will be revealed when we make our final announcement. From our point of view I think all parties are getting the major points of their agenda away, there was of course - what you have to remember - is there was large areas of overlap."

Next step: Cabinet positions

He said they had not made any policy tradeoffs for ministerial positions, and those roles would be what the partner parties sorted out next, which they wanted to get through "as quickly as possible".

"We sort of want to kick on, and move on into ministerial responsibilities and cabinet positions," he said.

"The way we set this up from the beginning, as I said, is we're trying to do something quite unique, which is that we're taking three parties into a coalition government that we want to make sure that is strong and stable. That means that we have gone through every line item of all three parties manifestos and we've worked our way through all the policy positions and the differences and the different mechanics for achieving the same with different goals.

"We've done the policy work first and foremost before we've had any conversation around Cabinet positions and we'll now kick that off."

He said he was "very relieved" to have got to this point.

"I mean it's been a major goal of ours ... and I appreciate it's taken time and I really appreciate everybody's patience with the process but I do believe it'll actually make for a much stronger government.

He suggested it was a quick turnaround considering the work that had needed to be done.

"What I'd say to you right now is it's been a constructive process, it's been a long process, I think quite a quick process, but we've gone through a lot of detail in order to get to a good place.

"I think when you think about the way we are doing it ... it's a massive amount of content that we've had to go through and we're actually doing it in a way that we want to make sure it's not just National doing a deal with ACT and it's not just National doing a deal with new Zealand First, we actually want New Zealand First and ACT to be able to support each other's programmes.

"Just be thankful we're not living in the Netherlands where the last coalition government took 10 months to form, I think we've covered an awful lot of ground and actually put three parties together in a comprehensive and a good way."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs