Decision on NZ government looming

Cheryl Sanders
October 12, 2017

Crucial to the negotiations is the small New Zealand First party, led by maverick lawmaker Winston Peters.

A final vote count published over the weekend - two weeks after the September 23 poll - showed the center-left Labor-Green bloc picking up two extra seats, bringing it nearer to the center-right governing National Party's tally. While he has remained tightlipped during negotiations he has confirmed that discussions with both parties has stayed focused on policy and what they can work on as opposed to bottom lines.The Special vote count saw National lose two seats and Labour and the Greens gain one seat each which Peters said was proof he was right to wait for the results before going into discussions. Several members of a group that leader Winston Peters says will be consulted tomorrow on the formation of the next government do not want their names in public, he says.

Which makes it odd that the party's board of directors is so secretive. He has dismissed criticism that the party lacks democratic processes.

Ardern has brought Labour within reach of forming government since becoming party leader in August, with a Labour-Green bloc winning 54 seats, two seats short of the ruling National's 56.

He claimed New Zealand First values transparency "but we also value an individual's privacy especially when they volunteer their services".

According to the NZ First party constitution, the party's governance structure has 14 members, including an ex officio deputy-general.

Claire Ashley, Toa Greening, Robert Monds, Anne Marie Andrews, Kevin Gardener and Sue Sara are listed as other directors.

Peters' press secretary not unreasonably declined to respond as it was a party political matter and referred the question to party secretary Anne Martin, who passed on the party email address for Catchpole, a former NZ First MP and current Papakura community board chair. Leader Winston Peters said that was because members were entitled to privacy.

So, who is on this secretive board?

"You'll no doubt see them all when that happens", said Catchpole, whose main concern appeared to be a media attempt to contact the board ahead of the confidential coalition talks being concluded.

Both the National and Labour parties publish the names of their party board members on their websites.

Other reports by iNewsToday