National leader Judith Collins appears to have ruled out working with NZ First after the election - and says Winston Peters and his party are probably on the way out, anyway.
Former leader Simon Bridges in February announced a decision by his MPs that the party wouldn't work with NZ First to form a government after September's election.
When Todd Muller took over as National leader he said it was possible that decision could be revisited, and he'd make it clear before the campaign.
Now Collins has slammed the door shut on the chances of reversing the decision not to work with NZ First.
"We have made that very plain as a caucus and as a party, and I know a lot of our party supporters and voters certainly wanted us to do that.
"I'm pretty clear - the caucus has decided it. That's the caucus view."
The National leader spoke to media after putting up new campaign billboards in her Papakura electorate, joking that the electric drill reminded her of holding a Taser.
NZ First is holding its annual conference in Auckland today and tomorrow.
Collins said she had a cordial relationship with Peters - "he's always pleasant with me, and I'm always pleasant to him" - but that didn't mean they could be in government together.
"This is not likely, because I don't know his party's going to be there after the election.
"It's really important to understand the caucus has said that they don't want to do a deal with Winston Peters. There is no reason that I know that we are going to change that.
"My view is I'm just not worried about him, or his party vote. I'm focused on the National Party vote."
Asked about Collins this afternoon, Peters was reluctant to comment.
"What has that got to do with the price of fish?" he said, when asked about his relationship with Collins.
When pressed on National ruling his party out when it comes to a collation partner, he scoffed.
Collins "might not be the leader she claims to be", he said.
"You've got to bite the bullet sometimes. If you don't want to do that, then get out of this business."
He said on election night, the phone calls would be coming to New Zealand First as they had every other election he had been engaged in.
"It's not up to caucus on this matter – the caucus is screaming for leadership and so is the country."
He said: "There is a thing called stable government and if we're it, we should be talking that way".