Video: 'I can confirm I had a one-on-one meeting with Mr Peters' - Bill English coy after evening catch-up with Winston

Bill English tonight exited a one-on-one meeting with Winston Peters in Wellington, as coalition negotiations linger on 24 days after the general election.

Staying true to his tight-lipped approach over the past week or so, Mr English didn't give much away, but was optimistic there would be more to say soon.

"I had a meeting, a good meeting with Mr Peters, but I won't be commenting on the content of it," Mr English said.

The NZ First leader says they are "98 per cent there" on the policy issues. Source: 1 NEWS

"I can confirm it was a one-on-one meeting. I had a one-on-one meeting with Mr Peters and I hope there will be more to say in the next few days."

Asked as he was leaving what the process now was to form a government, Mr English said "we'll let you know".

Mr Peters, who also met with Labour's Jacinda Ardern tonight, has been in a lengthy meeting with the NZ First board and caucus for the past few days as the party tries to decide who it will support for New Zealand's next government. 

After meeting with the NZ First board and caucus this afternoon, Mr Peters said they've got a lot of work done but no final decision has been made.

Mr Peters once again refused to give a deadline on when the decision on a new government would be made but said the board's work is "98 per cent done" and they're now making their way home.

"We have spent a couple of days on very comprehensive discussions and preparations for the party to make a final decision, we got a lot of work done, the board's engagement in terms of that work is complete.

"We have things to finish off as urgently as we can, sorting out differences on calculations and opinions with both sides. So if we do finalise it, we know that we've already got the agreement rather than going away and having to go away and write it all again," Mr Peters said.

While the NZ First leader says the talk on policy is complete, he now needs to take the board's decision back to Labour and National for further discussion before then reviewing the outcome with the board again for a final decision.

He said the board wouldn't be required to return to Wellington and he would communicate with them via other channels to make the decision as soon as possible.

All "nine permutations" are still on the table, he said, and will be up until the final decision is made.

He wouldn't be drawn on whether the announcement would be made by the end of the week or not, meaning we're no closer to knowing the make-up of the next government at this stage.

Read more: Analysis: 'These talks are proving far more complex'– 1 NEWS' Corin Dann on ongoing NZ First talks

Winston Peters said today the party had made lots of progress on policy, but needs to speak with Labour and National once again. Source: 1 NEWS

The National leader exited a coalition chat with Mr Peters tonight, involving just the two of them, in Wellington. Source: 1 NEWS



Watch: Artist uses pyramid in central Auckland to spread some joy around town

A Kiwi artist are architect is using a pyramid in central Auckland to spread some joy.

Matt Liggins has made it his mission to ask people what makes them smile, but instead of rolling up to you on the street he's built a pyramid to help lighten people's moods.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp's Lucas de Jong went along to take a look and share a laugh in the video above.

Matt Liggins has made it his mission to ask Kiwis what makes them smile. Source: Seven Sharp


Britain can flourish even without Brexit deal, says UK's Foreign Secretary

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the UK will flourish with or without an agreement on its relationship with the European Union after it leaves the grouping next year.

A "no-deal" Brexit is possible, he said in an interview in Tokyo, "but I don't think it's in anyone's interest for that to happen. So that's why we are cautiously optimistic that we will get a deal. But there's a lot of work to do to get there."

British Prime Minister Theresa May travels to Salzburg, Austria, on today to meet other EU leaders. She needs to win over both the European Union and critics of her Brexit proposal within her own Conservative Party. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29.

Japanese companies with operations in Britain are among those worried about the impact of a "no-deal" Brexit, in particular on their ability to export from the U.K. to the rest of Europe without tariffs or other trade restrictions. Under a no-deal scenario, the U.K. would leave the EU without establishing rules for future trade between Britain and the 27 remaining EU member countries.

"The U.K. will flourish and prosper as one of the strongest economies in the world whatever the outcome of these talks," Hunt said, noting its business-friendly environment and strong universities.

He defended the May government's proposed Brexit deal, which has been roundly attacked by his predecessor, Boris Johnson. Hunt succeeded Johnson as foreign secretary in July.

"British politics is littered with the graveyards of people who have predicted the demise of Theresa May and been proved wrong," he said.

"Of course Boris Johnson doesn't agree with some of the policy decisions that she's taken, but Theresa May has to speak not just for the 52 percent who voted for Brexit, she has to speak for 100 percent of the country," he added.

Hunt is in the Japanese capital to hold annual U.K.-Japan strategic dialogue talks with Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

He said he welcomes the summit that started Tuesday between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but that the time has come for the North to take concrete steps toward eliminating its nuclear weapons.

"Words get you so far. I think words have helped, they've changed the atmosphere, but we need to see actions now," he said.

Britain has sent warships to the Pacific to help patrol for transfers between ships at sea that violate economic sanctions on North Korea. Hunt said Britain is ready to relax sanctions if there is concrete evidence of change on the North Korean side.

Hunt, who lived in Japan in the early 1990s, delivered a short speech without notes in Japanese to about 50 people from U.K.-Japan exchange programs.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt delivers a speech during a "strategic dialogue” at British Embassy in Tokyo, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. Hunt said it’s time for North Korea to take concrete actions toward eliminating its nuclear weapons. Hunt told that Britain is ready to relax economic sanctions on North Korea when there is concrete evidence of a change from the North Korean side. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt delivers a speech during a "strategic dialogue” at British Embassy in Tokyo. Source: Associated Press

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Meet the transgender Wellington school caretaker brightening up kids' days

A transgender caretaker at a Wellington school has been using her musical talents to brighten up the kids' days.

Molly Mason was born as Michael, but soon discovered she was a female born in a man's body.

"I believe I'm a woman, and I associate as a woman, so I live my life as a woman," Molly told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

Molly has a love of music that began when she was just six.

Now, in her role as caretaker at a Wellington school, she uses her talent to good effect by beat boxing with the kids at lunchtime.

"When I realised that beat boxing and making sounds was something I couldn't live without, that was it, nothing else mattered."

However, to be this woman - that little boy Michael, had a fight on his hands.

"I got bullied from primary school right through until the day I left college and left Blenheim."

Molly is now proud to be transgender and says the stage is her safe place. She performs as her drag alter ego called Bette Noir.

"Anything that makes me sad, makes me worried, makes me scared, anything that I find stressful, it's not there, it's gone." 

Seven Sharp’s Arrun Soma spoke with Molly Mason. Source: Seven Sharp


Ministry of Justice union members strike, launching a month of industrial action over pay

Court security officers and Family Court coordinators are among Ministry of Justice employees going on strike for two hours nationwide today as they start more than four weeks of industrial action over pay.

Ministry of Justice members of the Public Service Association will strike from 10.30am to 12.30pm today.

PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay said on Monday that eleventh hour meetings were held between the PSA Bargaining Team and Ministry of Justice to reach a resolution but no movement on fundamental pay issues was offered.

He said the union is seeking an outcome that ensures members including court security officers, registry officers, victim advisors, court reporters and Family Court coordinators are reasonably paid. 

The ministry’s own engagement survey shows that only a third of staff feel valued for the work that they do, with a clear impact on recruitment and retention issues across the ministry, Mr Barclay said. 

He said the ministry offered the third lowest average salary in the public sector last year and the PSA believes this is being worsened. 

As well as strike action today, the employees will ban overtime, only work contracted hours of work and take common breaks until October 19 "to push for fair pay systems and a modest across-the-board pay increase," Mr Barclay said.

Kaitaia, New Zealand - August 18, 2014: Kaitaia District/Family Court outdoor sign and symbol. It is the most northern District Court in new zealand
Kaitaia District Court. Source: istock.com