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Ardern and Davis to lead Labour negotiating team

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 26/09/2017

Ardern said she had a great deal of respect for Winston Peters and her senior MPs had good working relationships with him. © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Ardern said she had a great deal of respect for Winston Peters and her senior MPs had good working relationships with him. Labour and the Green Party have begun lining up their coalition negotiators, while the National Party is delaying naming a team until consulting with Winston Peters.

Leader Jacinda Ardern announced this afternoon she and deputy Kelvin Davis would head the Labour Party's coalition negotiating team.

Ms Ardern said other members were yet to be confirmed.

As Labour and National start making preparations for their respective coalition talks, the two parties have held caucus meetings at Parliament this morning.

The government is in caretaker mode, with neither National nor Labour having enough seats to form a government alone.

Both parties are in the process of establishing lines of communication with New Zealand First, which appears to hold the balance of power, while the Green Party has also announced a five-strong team to lead its coalition negotiations.

She said Labour had firm views on who would be in the talks but would not release any names until later in the week.

"I can confirm though that late yesterday we did reach out to New Zealand First and indicate that we were happy and available to meet."

Jacinda Ardern said her front bench team would be going through their policies to see where there were areas of common ground with New Zealand First and the Green Party.

"I've tasked our front bench over the next 48 hours to compare some of our policies with other parties policies to make sure we are well prepared for the negotiations."

Ms Ardern said she had a great deal of respect for Winston Peters and her senior MPs had good working relationships with him.

"Relationships are important in these negotiations and I'd like to think we have the existing relationships required to take forward a good negotiation and form a stable, credible, long-term government."

Mr English said this morning he would name his negotiating team after consulting with Mr Peters later this week.

Mr Peters was in Auckland today and was due to arrive in Wellington tomorrow to meet with his new caucus.

Meanwhile, the Green Party has announced its own team for negotiating coalitions.

It will be fronted by leader James Shaw with support from the senior MP Eugenie Sage, acting chief of staff Tory Whanau, party co-convenor Debs Martin and former chief of staff Andrew Campbell.

Mr Shaw said the team had the experience and expertise to represent the interests of the Green Party.

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