New Zealand First MPs are arriving at Parliament for an all-day caucus meeting to help decide the next government.

The meeting comes as both National and Labour's deputy leaders defend Winston Peters missing a self-imposed deadline to decide which coalition option to go with.

Shane Jones wished reporters "morena", and said he expected a briefing today on when the party board would fly in and join caucus in making a final decision.

"I am sure those meetings will be progressed," Jones said.


"I think Winston has outlined [the process]. The election result was announced relatively recently. We have made good progress on our policy matters."

New NZ First MP Mark Patterson said caucus would today be looking over the two proposals received - one from Labour, and one from National.

"The talks have been conducted with the highest integrity. At my level we haven't had any visibility of what is happening. So we will be looking forward to what is happening now, today."

Patterson said he wasn't nervous about being part of such a decision so early in his political career.

"Not at all. This is what you come here to do, isn't it. To make a change."

National deputy leader Paula Bennett and her Labour counterpart Kelvin Davis have defended Peters for missing the Thursday deadline to make a decision.

"I'm not here to stick up for him completely, but you do go, he'd be damned if it was just Winston making the decision," Bennett told Three's The AM Show this morning.

"And now that he's got a process he needs to go to, to make sure he's actually getting the right advice and going and talking to everybody, you're kind of all slaying him for that as well."

Davis said he had "no complaints" about the longer wait for a decision.

"I don't think it is proper to rush things just because of some deadline set a couple of weeks back."

After being in near-constant meetings since Sunday, the New Zealand First team now has a little breathing space to consider the offers today.

Peters yesterday stressed he was still open to anything - from a coalition to the cross benches under which NZ First would not take any ministerial posts. He said the talks on policies were complete.

"I'm very, very pleased that we've actually got it finished. We've got a seriously comprehensive dossier from both sides."

However, he did not yet have a view on whether to back National or Labour.

"No. I said I'd go into it with a totally open mind and I asked my caucus and the board to have the same approach.

"I can honestly tell you I wouldn't take a guess what anyone is thinking."

The offerings from Labour and National did not yet include specific portfolios for NZ First members.

Peters said the issue of any portfolios would likely be discussed at today's caucus meeting.

Before the election, Peters said if he was kingmaker he would announce a decision by October 12 but he defended taking longer, saying 10 days was not too long to wait.

Possible options include a full coalition inside Cabinet, a support agreement offering confidence and supply in return for some ministerial posts outside Cabinet, to sitting on the crossbenches offering support on a case-by-case basis.

NZ First had about eight hours of negotiations with National and Labour yesterday.

A meeting of the board to sign off on an agreement could still be held in Wellington today, although it was more likely it would be delayed until the weekend or Monday.

That was partly due to logistical issues including funerals, he told media, later confirming one board member had a tangi to attend.

"One or two or three [board members] I think are finding it difficult. So I have got to fit around them."

NZ First had refused to release the names of the board, despite publishing such details in past years.

The Herald had confirmed the identities of the 14 board members, who include Peters and deputy Ron Mark, as well as several NZ First candidates and a past president.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern emerged from her final talks with Peters and his team last night, saying the parties had a good understanding of each other's positions and the process was "positive and helpful".

"[It is] a good basis on which both parties can analyse what we have in common, what we can build from, what will be the foundation of a good, solid change of government."

National leader Bill English has avoided talking to media, but after National's last talks Steven Joyce replied with a smiley face on Twitter to a question of whether National were smiling as they left the meeting.

Labour will also need the support of the Green Party to form a Government, but is negotiating separate agreements with each party. It wants the Greens formally on board before Peters and his team make their final decision, so they can guarantee they have the numbers.

The Greens are ready to hold a meeting of delegates to get the at-least 75 per cent agreement needed to sign off the agreement. An agreement is yet to be reached. Labour and the Greens were in touch with each other yesterday but did not meet.

Greens leader James Shaw told media this morning that negotiations with Labour were being finalised, and the Green delegates were on stand by to discuss the deal once it is wrapped up.

"We had a briefing call last night with everyone. That went really well. We're pretty much ready to go. We're waiting for negotiations to conclude.

"There's still bits and pieces that we need to tidy up. We've got through the bulk of it ... We're nearing the end stages and at this point, I don't foresee any great trouble."

The Green-Labour deal is independent of what Labour is negotiating with NZ First, and Shaw has said that he trusts Labour leader Jacinda Ardern to put together a good deal for all three parties.

Shaw said that the Greens prefer a coalition deal to a confidence and supply arrangement, but "we've just gotta see how things go".

He was not concerned about the party's ability to criticise the Government, should the Greens be locked in a coalition arrangement.

"For the general public, I don't think they make that level of distinction ... the place to look is to distinguish yourself by doing good work on behalf of the New Zealand people.

"Life is fraught with risk, and pretty much any scenario contains risks for the life of the [Green] party.

"It's not all about the future of our party. It's actually about the future of our country and what model of Government is best gonna deliver on that."