Jacinda Ardern was defiant when asked if her election-night call to Bill English was a concession of defeat.
Speaking from outside parliament in Wellington today, surrounded by her new batch of MPs, the Labour leader maintained her call was made as a sporting gesture to a rival rather than a call of concession after National received a much higher party vote.
"My call to Bill English was about the way I do politics, I had to acknowledge that he had taken a greater portion of the vote than I had.
"As two individuals who were up against each other during a campaign I thought it was only fair and sporting to acknowledge that," Ms Ardern said.
She then expressed her belief that the vote indicated that the country desired a change from the "status quo".
"What was generated on election night was not a confirmation of what the government would look like, our job now is to work with what voters delivered us to see if we can form a stable coalition government," she said.
When quizzed about negotiations with NZ First and Winston Peters, Ms Ardern thinks the two parties share "some common ground".
One of those common ground issues is Mr Peters' possible legacy project to move the Ports of Auckland to Whangarei.
"We take a view that we do have to make sure the Ports of Auckland is sustainable, so we do need to look at new locations," Ms Ardern said.
An issue that may cause some problems between Labour and NZ First is the Maori seats, which Mr Peters has repeatedly said he would like to see abolished, although he is open to a referendum on the matter.
Today Ms Ardern said the Maori seats are "non-negotiable" and Labour has a responsibility to Maori after winning all seven seats in the Maori electorates.
Whatever happens the negotiations are sure to be interesting, Ms Ardern said she will contact Mr Peters later this week, but doesn't expect anything to be settled until the special votes count comes in on October 7.