The man likely to be Winston Peters' right-hand man during coalition negotiations, lawyer Brian Henry, has known Peters for 30 years.

They have faced many crises together, to the extent that Henry told a parliamentary privileges committee hearing in 2008 that they were like "blood brothers".

Gerry Brownlee, the National Party minister who is going to be Bill English's right-hand man during the talks, gave Brian Henry a particularly hard time during his appearance and accused him of being obstructive when he repeatedly said he could not recall particular events.

The hearing was over a $100,000 donation that Owen Glenn sent Henry to pay the legal costs of the electoral petition Peters took and which was not declared. The committee believed Glenn over Peters and Henry and found Peters to have knowingly filed a false declaration to Parliament.


Peters and Henry met in 1987 when former National MP Wyatt Creech hired Henry to successfully conduct an electoral petition (challenge the results) of the Wairarapa seat. He says he has never charged Peters any legal fees.

Most famously Henry was Peters' lawyer when he successfully challenged the central findings of the Winebox commission of inquiry into a series of tax transactions.

It was a David and Goliath challenge, with Peters and Henry up against some of the most accomplished and expensive QCs in the country.

It is not clear who else Peters would want in his negotiating team.

But the most likely prospects are deputy leader Ron Mark, Tauranga-based list MP Clayton Mitchell and, at a stretch, new list MP Shayne Jones who has strong relationships in both National and Labour.

Peters has not had any conversation with Prime Minister Bill English or Labour leader Jacinda Ardern since the election.