Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

National to review working with NZ First

Winston Peters of New Zealand First. Photo / File
Winston Peters of New Zealand First. Photo / File

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday National would review its ban on working with New Zealand First before the next election.

This issue has already been the subject of speculation inside the party and the Herald understands the ban on post-election deals in 2008 and 2011 is likely to be reversed.

But New Zealand First leader Winston Peters scoffed at the notion saying the Government was dysfunctional and he did not think it would would make it through to the 2014 election.

The demise of the Act Party to just one MP, John Banks, and the current police investigation into donations to his 2010 mayoral campaign have prompted raised questions about potential coalition partners for National.

Conservative leader Colin Craig whose party polled 2.65 per cent last election would be a potential partner if the party breaks the MMP threshold - which could be dropped to 4 per cent after the current review of MMP.

But his claims yesterday that the Government should not be offering free contraception to New Zealand women as the most promiscuous in the world raised further questions about the Conservatives' compatibility with National.

United Future leader Peter Dunne said National would destroy itself if it hitched up to the Conservatives.

"These people are seriously extreme and nutty," he said.

Mr Key when asked if he could work with someone like Mr Craig he was not going to critique every statement of someone who wasn't even in Parliament.

"At the end of the day we work with lots of partners and we don't always agree with everything they say and they don't always agree with us.

"It doesn't mean that we cant work constructively so I'm not in the process of ruling them out but I just hasten to add we are two and a half years away from an election and I wouldn't worry about it too much."

Asked if it was time to review his decision not to work with New Zealand First, he said no, because he did not need their support at the present - with Act, United Future and the Maori Party he has 63 votes on confidence and supply in the 121 seat Parliament.

But he and the board would reassess that before the next election.

"We don't need partners at the moment and I ruled them out and I intend to stick with that position for this three years.

"Could it change in the future? Who knows? That's a decision for another day."

Mr Key ruled out Mr Peters in 2008 after the privileges committee censured Mr Peters for failing to declare a donation of $100,000 by businessman Owen Glenn towards his legal fees and investigations into the party's donations.

He announced the decision the day before the Serious Fraud Office decided to investigate the party's donations from the Spencer, over which no charges were laid.

Mr Peters said Mr Key's decision had been on "spurious grounds."

"He can live with it now.

- NZ Herald

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