NZ First Winston Peters says he is just thankful to have survived the election, lambasting the media and National and Labour for treating it as if it was a First Past the Post campaign rather than MMP.
"Things suffer for that and I'm just grateful that we survived it. I always knew this was going to be one rough campaign."
Peters holds the balance of power and speaking from Russel this morning, said he was yet to have any phone calls with National leader Bill English or Labour's Jacinda Ardern, and hit out at media for asking. He planned to go fishing later this afternoon.
"Let's stop the mirage and the facade here, we all know what has to happen. So all this talk about making phone calls will not be happening from NZ First's point of view."
He said he would deal with it "responsibly" and would take to his colleagues and board "and then let you know what I'm going to do".
Asked if he had expectations, he replied "yes I have" but would not say what they were.
After Peters announced he was going fishing, Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford took it upon himself to warm Peters up for talks with a bit of unsolicited fishing advice."
Peters brushed aside media questions about which of Labour-Greens or National he was leaning toward and defended taking time to make up his mind.
Peters said in some countries they took three to six months to form governments.
Peters lambasted the media, saying there had been no fun on the campaign and the media had treated it like a First Past the Post election, focusing on Labour and National so heavily.
Asked whether he was having fun now: "Yes, I am actually."
Asked about Shane Jones' failure to win Whangarei, Peters referred to his own failure to hold Northland: "We can't all win a seat, even Winston Peters can't win a seat."
He said his loss of the Northland seat was "a terrible shame" but he gave it his best shot.
"They made a decision, I can't change that. I was privileged for a brief time to be their MP but now I've got more time to be an MP round the country."
Peters said he was going fishing this afternoon for "peace and tranquillity".
"Nobody can get to you."
Peters denied he had advocated abolishing the Maori seats - saying his policy was simply to hold a binding referendum on them - not to abolish them.
He did acknowledge Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell as "a marvellous New Zealander".
"He's the classic person you need in this country a million fold. But I think some of his political ideas were mistaken."
He said he knew Flavell well but his politics were "from the sociology department of the University of Auckland".
He told journalists it was an MMP environment and the "two old parties" did not have the answers to the future.
"You spent all the time sucking up to the two old parties and this afternoon trying to make a decision and tomorrow trying to make a decision but they won't have the cards that matter."
He said MMP was "working now, yeah".
"But it took the campaign to get rid of a lot of puppets and prop-ups and what I call corrupt arrangements."
That was a reference to National's deals with ACT leader David Seymour and United Future's Peter Dunne.
He described ACT leader David Seymour as "the most expensive beneficiary in the whole country".
"And out here is a real party, NZ First, and we survived."