Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says she is confident a Labour, NZ First, Greens government could provide stable government despite having just a one-seat majority.
Ardern said she was due to speak to Green co-leader James Shaw this afternoon but it was clear NZ First leader Winston Peters wanted some time before any conversations were held.
She denied National should automatically have the mandate to form a government because it got the biggest share of the vote, or that a three-party government would be unstable.
"I think New Zealanders would expect that we would form a credible, stable government with the parties they voted into office.
The majority of people have voted against the status quo - it's up to us to then see whether or not we can form a government from that."
She said more than 15 per cent of the vote was yet to be counted in the special votes and she was hopeful Labour would see a lift in its support - and possibly an extra seat - after they were counted.
In 2014, after the special votes were counted National had lost a seat - and the ability to govern on its own - from its election night results.
Ardern will be hoping those specials deliver extra seats to either Labour, NZ First or the Greens to give the grouping more than the 61 seats they got on the election night results.
That is a slim majority of just one vote - meaning one rogue MP in any of the parties could collapse the government.
Ardern said she had not yet done the forensic analysis of Labour's campaign or where it gained and lost support - other than in the Mt Albert electorate where she said Labour's vote increased.
Asked if a one-seat majority was precarious, Ardern said both parties needed support from others to form a government.
Labour would not do a deal to get into government at any cost.
"I've stipulated there are issues that are incredibly important to us, values that the Labour Party has that we will be maintaining as we go through these discussions but I'm not going to conduct a negotiation here."
She said she stuck to her earlier comments that Labour would not support a referendum on the Maori seats - one of Peters' policies.
She did not necessarily believe English's result was the vote of confidence in the direction of the country that English had claimed. "The majority have voted against the status quo. But it is incumbent on us now to see what we can do with that."
Ardern was spending the afternoon at her home having a barbecue for staff, family and friends. Fellow MPs Phil Twyford, Kelvin Davis, and Grant Robertson were there.
She expected to travel to Wellington on Monday.
Ardern said she would not ask Green co-leader James Shaw to give her a reassurance he would not enter talks with National, saying it was up to each party to do what they believed best.