National leader Judith Collins says it’s unlikely her party will work with NZ First post-election given Winston Peters may not make it back to Parliament.
When asked today about working with Mr Peters, she said: “This is not likely because I don’t know that his party is going to be there after the election.”
She said she preferred if National “just won” without needing NZ First.
“The caucus has said that they don’t want to do a deal with Winston Peters, and there’s no reason I know that we are going to change that,” Ms Collins said.
“I’m just not worried about him or his party vote.”
She said the National caucus had made its position on Mr Peters “very plain” that it wouldn’t work with NZ First.
“I know a lot of our party supporters and voters certainly wanted us to do that.”
However, she said she’d always had a “pleasant” relationship with Mr Peters.
“He’s always pleasant to me and I’m always pleasant to him.”
It’s a contrast to her predecessor’s approach.
Todd Muller didn’t rule out working with Mr Peters soon after he replaced Simon Bridges as leader.
Mr Muller said “it’s quite possible” the party could work with Mr Peters.
But, he said the caucus’ official position had not changed since January when Mr Bridges ruled out working with NZ First.
“Maybe, in the future, we could refresh that. I don’t know,” he said.
“Let’s see if it changes in the future.”
Mr Bridges told TVNZ1’s Breakfast in February: "I can't trust New Zealand First and don't think New Zealanders can either, and I want to end the charade we've had in the past and I think we will have again if New Zealand First is there.
"I'm really telling you after the election National won’t work with New Zealand First, full stop.
"If Winston Peters calls I won't answer and I certainly won't be calling. If they have the balance of power, that still remains the position."
1 NEWS' latest Colmar Brunton poll in July had NZ first polling at three per cent, leaving it without a seat in Parliament should support remain at the same level on election day.