‘Never have I ever heard Winston Peters request a question in writing’- 1 NEWS political team bemused by Deputy PM’s response to grilling

The Crown-Māori Relations portfolio has caused a headache for the coalition Government, after the influence of Winston Peters appears to have put heat on the Prime Minister and hampered announcements and the passing of legislation.

1 NEWS understood disagreements within the coalition forced Labour to abandon announcing detail of its Crown-Māori Relations portfolio earlier this week.

Mr Peters was unwilling to answer questions about the matter and when asked by 1 NEWS if NZ First vetoed the establishment of an agency for the Crown-Maori portfolio in the Ministry of Justice, he replied: "Well look I can't answer that question 'cause I don't have any recall of that."

The influence of Winston Peters is also believed to be putting the Prime Minister under pressure from rival MPs. Source: 1 NEWS

"Send me a written question, I'll give you an answer because I'm not going to do it off the top of my head. I don't have a very present recall of that."

On Inside Parliament this week, 1 NEWS reporter Maiki Sherman said she thought Mr Peters "had the memory of an elephant". 

"Never, have I ever heard Winston Peters request a question in writing. For him to say that he couldn't remember what happened just two days earlier, on quite a crucial issue, I knew there was smoke, and there was fire there."

Fellow reporter Benedict Collins said it was just "one of a string of events where NZ First appears to have pulled the rug out of Labour's feet at the very last minute". 

"It has to be embarrassing," Ms Sherman said. 

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Is there trouble in coalition paradise? The Inside Parliament reporters discuss the developments. Source: 1 NEWS