NZ First leader Winston Peters has attempted to shake off his title of 'king or queenmaker' after meeting with Labour and National, saying his party's caucus and board will democratically decide any agreement - not just him.
Speaking to media at parliament after conducting brief meetings with National and Labour today, Mr Peters said "we've agreed on the protocols to go forward and how we'll conduct our discussions and our negotiations ... all that's been resolved".
He also lamented his political position, saying "we're between the devil and the deep blue sea here".
"You can't win with the public, you can't win with the media, you can't win with the commentariat, you can't win with people who think it's all about First Past the Post even though we're in an MMP environment, and they just bang on day in day out," Mr Peters said.
He went on to say he was unhappy with his perceived lack of coverage by the media for NZ First's policies until he was put in the position of being able to decide the next government.
"If this was MMP - real MMP - you'd have been here five months ago, four months ago, three months ago, two months ago and a month ago - not turning up after the election like you do, when we can't convince any voters about what we do - that's my point."
He stressed that the current coalition negotiations will not be decided solely based on his own preference, but that the NZ First caucus will be holding democratic discussions to determine the course of action.
"I will not be making up my mind - my party will make up its mind as a caucus and as a board," he said.
"The whole thing has been depicted as one man holding the whole country to ransom and I belong to a very democratic caucus and a very democratic board - we haven't lasted 24 years by not being democratic.
"Everybody in my board knows and every MP knows .. that they'll get to make the decision - not one person."
When asked whether his current negotiation team would remain the same, he said no, adding that specialists could be brought in "when specialists are required".