Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has spoken to NZ First leader Winston Peters and agreed to meet later in the week.

Ardern said after her phone call with Peters this morning it was agreed both parties would look to hold a meeting between their respective teams later this week.

"Special votes remain an important part of the process for the Labour Party with more than 380,000 votes yet to be counted," Ardern said in a statement.

"In the meantime, we'll continue to prepare ourselves for coalition negotiations."

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Labour's meeting with NZ First comes after Peters spoke to National leader Bill English earlier this morning, returning English's call to him on Sunday.

Peters has confirmed that preliminary talks between National and NZ First will kick off this week.

The dialogue came after Peters was unable to answer English's call at the weekend.

"Preliminary talks will proceed this week when arrangements suitable to both parties are concluded," Peters said.

"New Zealand First expects the same will occur if and when other parties make contact."

English revealed this morning that he had personally tried to call Peters yesterday but did not hear back.

Peters said reports he had refused to take English's call were wrong and he would call English back soon: "Wouldn't that be the courteous thing to do?"

Asked if he was up north in Whananaki without cellphone coverage he said yes. He had not got the message until late last night.

Earlier today, in his regular round of Monday morning interviews, English revealed he had tried to contact Peters and at several times stressed his view that Peters was leaving it late to begin talks.