New Zealand election comes down to manic Monday

13 October 2017 - 14:52 By AFP
Winston Peters said coalition offers from English's National Party and Ardern's Labour would be put to the NZF board on Monday for a final decision.
Winston Peters said coalition offers from English's National Party and Ardern's Labour would be put to the NZF board on Monday for a final decision.
Image: REUTERS/Charlotte Greenfield/File photo

New Zealand's populist "kingmaker" Winston Peters says a crunch meeting to decide the outcome of the country's general election will be held on Monday.

Even then, voters may face a further wait to find out who won the September 23 poll, Peters said.

"We know that time is of the essence," the 72-year-old told reporters after his New Zealand First (NZF) party held a caucus meeting.

The South Pacific nation has been in political limbo since the vote failed to deliver a clear majority for either conservative Prime Minister Bill English or his centre-left rival Jacinda Ardern.

They both require Peters' support to pass the 61 seats needed for a win, giving NZF a decisive role in the election even though it only won seven percent of the vote.

Peters said coalition offers from English's National Party and Ardern's Labour would be put to the NZF board on Monday for a final decision.

"The board members will be flying in on Sunday and early Monday morning for an all-day board meeting on Monday," he said.

Asked if that meant the public could expect an announcement on Monday, Peters was non-committal, saying: "They (board members) are booked in for the night if we have to."

Peters has already missed a self-imposed deadline of October 12 for making an announcement.

It is the third time Peters, best known as an anti-immigration campaigner, has found himself in the role of kingmaker under New Zealand's proportional voting system.

He opted for National in 1996 in return for being made deputy prime minister and backed Labour in 2005 after it agreed to make him foreign minister.

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