'In my view this week was preparation' – Jacinda Ardern says initial call with Winston Peters not crucial

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1 NEWS

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has echoed Winston Peters' own call that no meaningful progress can occur in coalition negotiations until all the special votes from the election are counted.

The Labour leader says laying the groundwork for negotiations is her party's priority
Source: Breakfast

Having conducted a preliminary call with Mr Peters yesterday morning, Ms Ardern stressed this week could only really be about preparation to find "common ground" and identify "points of difference" between Labour and New Zealand First's policy ambitions.

"For me the sense of urgency really exists around that preliminary work we need to do going into the negotiations," Ms Ardern said.

"So that one-on-one call wasn't something I necessarily saw as something that had to happen this week because those special votes really matter - 380,000 votes still to be counted.  

"That matters in terms of the final outcome for the way that those seats will be allocated between parties.

History has shown Winston Peters knows all too well the importance of coalition phone calls.
Source: 1 NEWS

"In my view this week was all about preparation and that's still what we're doing. Any meeting that we have will still be preparatory."  

Ms Ardern said that while they had a bit more of a "head start" in negotiations with the Greens compared to New Zealand First, a formal sit-down with either had not yet occurred, and was unlikely to before all election votes had been counted.

The Labour leader said it was "neither here nor there" whether Mr Peters begun negotiations with National before Labour, pointing to the fact there was no clear outcome on election night as a reason why both parties must be considered a coalition prospect. 

Ms Ardern said that Mr Peters' deadline to form a coalition government by next Thursday, October 12, was would be "tight but doable".

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