National deputy leader Paula Bennett says she is prepared to sacrifice her role as deputy prime minister if it means striking a deal with New Zealand First.
Bennett said she got on OK with Winston Peters but hadn't had much to do with him, "so I don't really have a relationship. Do you know what I mean? There's nothing wrong, there's no particular relationship there".
She didn't think her exclusion from the coalition negotiating team was because of any suspicions she could have been involved in the leak of Peters' NZ Super details.
"I don't know where it has come from. It is not my responsibility. I know that I was told. Whether I wanted to be told or not, I was. I couldn't do anything with that, so I didn't...it wasn't me."
Bennett said she was "not too bothered" if she had to give up Deputy Prime Minister as part of negotiations.
Meanwhile Bill English says he isn't worried about any grudges Winston Peters may hold against National - including a suspicion a leak of Peters' personal information came from within the party.
English received a sustained round of applause after walking into a meeting of his new caucus this morning, including retiring MPs.
However, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern got a similar reaction from her own colleagues a short time later, and it is still all on to win Peters' favour and form a Government.
Peters yesterday labelled English's summation of the New Zealand First leader as a maverick as "not a very smart thing to say". This morning, English said he wasn't worried about that reaction.
"I've known Winston Peters a long time. In fact, 27 years we have been in Parliament together - longer than pretty much anyone else in the building. There's a lot of political pushing and shoving. We have been in different parties for most of that time.
"You'd expect some differences of opinion. But I think I have always been clear I understand his role given the result of the election. He's an experienced politician. He takes his role very seriously. And we would expect to be able to be in negotiations on that basis."
Peters has also pointed the finger at National for the leak of information about his superannuation overpayments.
Yesterday it was confirmed that English's chief of staff Wayne Eagleson will leave the role after Government negotiations are complete.
Anne Tolley and Paula Bennett were told of the superannuation payments under the "no surprises" policy. Tolley told Eagleson. All three have denied leaking the information to media.
English said today as far as he was aware Peters had not contacted his office about the leak of information. He didn't expect the controversy to affect discussions with New Zealand First.
"I take people at their word that no action was taken by my staff in making that information public.
"There's all sorts of political pushing and shoving goes on. We now, though, have the responsibility of forming a strong and stable Government. I think we will all be in a position of putting aside differences there may have been in the past and moving on with what the voters expect us to do."
English said there were ongoing discussions about setting up a meeting with Peters and his team.
"Mr Peters has been up north and he has been travelling. I don't think we would get too concerned about the way things are moving. He'll be coming back to Wellington, he's got to meet with his own caucus and then begin negotiations."
Eagleson categorically denied leaking Peters' details, and said he didn't know who did: "It didn't come from the National Party".
Steven Joyce said he would be "making the tea" for the negotiations. He had seen reports of Peters' antipathy towards him, but said he was sure he got on well with the New Zealand First leader.
"You guys are interviewing your typewriters on it. And that's all good. But actually it's not about any personality. It is about how you put together a Government for New Zealand. There will be lots of silly rumours of all types swirling around in the next few weeks."
Ardern will hold a press conference this afternoon. After arriving at her own caucus meeting, which includes 17 new faces, she said it was fantastic to see the caucus room "absolutely brimming again".
"I am so incredibly proud of the work that each and every one of you did during this campaign. It takes a village to run a campaign...all of the work that you did I saw upfront and close and it was incredible.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you."