Labour-Greens ’pretty much ready to go’ - Ardern

Jacinda Ardern.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says the party's negotiations with New Zealand First have focused on policy, not ministerial appointments.

Labour and National are both still waiting as the New Zealand First board and MPs resume their deliberations today over who to form a government with.

Ms Ardern told Morning Report policy was driving discussions.

"I do want to have some caution here around breaking down too much the nature of those ongoing discussions, she said.

"To again reiterate people should take some heart by the fact they have been dominated by the nature of the government that will be formed rather than just simply around ideas of position."

The stability and durability of the next government would depend on whether they had enough in common to last the distance, she said.

Asked whether there was any deal with the Green Party, she said there had been a positive negotiation and everything was "pretty much settled."

"We're pretty much ready to go is how I would describe those talks. Of course the final stage of those talks, though, would essentially make that deal public because of the process that the Green Party would need to go through is quite an open one on their side.

"Of course the Greens are aware that we are still in negotiations and talks and so having that other agreement made public while we are still in that position is something that could potentially compromise our conversations."

On the discussions with New Zealand First, Ms Ardern said confidentiality was being respected and a considered process was necessary.

"Labour has engaged separately with the Green Party and separately with New Zealand First. A blind negotiation is the way that all negotiations have been conducted for past governments.

"Of course, we have to be mindful that in the coalition or agreements that we sign that they are compatible with one another."

Eventually there would have to be a discussion around the nature of the government, she said.

"Discussions have been dominated by areas of consensus, agreement, disagreement on the issues that matter and it hasn't been a discussional negotiation that's been dominated by what particular roles individuals will play.

"We have been entirely focused on policy," she said.

"The Governor-General of course cannot confirm that a government's been able to be successfully formed unless she can see that there is the confidence of the House behind that agreement.

"So that means knowing that there's either confidence and supply or a coalition agreement or some iteration that demonstrates that the votes are there for a government to be formed."

New Zealand First's internal talks to decide which major party it will support to lead the next government will continue into their second day today.

New Zealand First's board and caucus were locked in a closed-door meeting all day yesterday, weighing up proposals from both major parties.

The meeting wrapped up at Parliament about 6pm last night and the party said it would not be making any announcements.

Discussions were expected to continue at Parliament from 9am this morning.


Leave a Comment