Peters rejects formal coalition

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters today told supporters he would not enter a formal coalition with either Labour or National.

Mr Peters, in notes for a speech to be delivered in Rotorua today, said he had no preference and the choice belonged to the people.

"Let me be clear, we have no preference between them (Labour and National) so we will not be endorsing one over the other," he said.

Mr Peters encouraged people to vote for his party and said NZ First was an insurance policy against political extremism.

Mr Peters said NZ First did not have enough common ground with either of the two major parties on which to base a formal coalition.

NZ First would sit on the cross-benches and not oppose supply and confidence to either National or Labour.

Mr Peters said he would go into talks with the party that gained the most seats in Parliament and see if they could work out a support deal. 

He said he would not hold the government to ransom and policy differences over legislation would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Major stumbling blocks - such as Labour and National's support for a free trade deal with China - would be opposed, but would not result in the government being brought down, he said.

- NZPA

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