Key Points:

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says his party could form a government with National or Labour after the next election.

And he appeared to indicate today that it might not necessarily support the main party which wins the most seats.

It has been NZ First's policy since before the last election to first negotiate with the party that wins the most seats.

On TV One's Agenda programme today Mr Peters confirmed that was still its policy.

Asked about the possibility of the main party that runs second being able to form a government with one or more minor parties in support, he said that would not be a new situation.

"A similar thing... happened in 1932, where the junior party presented prime minister Forbes," he said.

"This is not new in this country, it's almost 70 or 80 years old."
Mr Peters told his questioners he was 'just pointing out history' which commentators did not seem to know when they talked about the formation of governments.

Since MMP was introduced in 1996 Mr Peters has talked to both the main parties after elections.

He has also gone for the most simple arrangement on offer with the least number of minor parties involved.

Mr Peters gave that as a reason for joining National in coalition in 1996, because Labour would have needed NZ First and another party to hold a majority.

And although he has recently criticised National for some of its policies and its track record, he indicated that did not mean he could not form a government with it.

He said commentators had not thought he could form a government with Jim Bolger in 1996, but he did.

"And no one thought it could work with Helen Clark but we've had a constructive arrangement in the interests of this country," he said. He again criticised National, saying there were some MPs on its front bench who carried 'ideological baggage' -- he mentioned Tony Ryall, Maurice Williamson and Nick Smith.

He said they were 'massive failures' who had taken National to its worst ever defeat in 2002.

National Party leader John Key has previously indicated he could work with NZ First if he needs support parties to back him after the election.

Mr Peters also revealed his party has given the $158,000 it wrongfully spent during the last election to charities.

Auditor-General Kevin Brady found that all the parties in Parliament except the Progressive Party spent money outside the rules during the last election.

They all paid it back, but NZ First insisted its spending had been given prior approval by Parliamentary Services and decided to give it to charity.

It tried to give it to Starship Hospital, but after initially accepting the money the hospital's board rejected it.

NZ First looked around for charities that would accept it, and Mr Peters said today the money had been paid to 'a number of worthy causes'.

"The Speaker's Office has been given the details and has acknowledged them," he said in a statement.

"We will not be publicly identifying the recipients. That is up to them. We regard the matter as now closed."

During TV One's Agenda programme Mr Peters said he would not identify the charities because he didn't want 'prying media' bothering them.

NZ First's decision to give the money to charity caused controversy when it was first announced.

Critics said it was taxpayer money and should be paid back to Parliamentary Services.

- NZPA