New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he will be in a position tomorrow afternoon to make "an announcement on the result of negotiations" following the 2017 election.
Peters released a statement this evening, saying that he had spoken to the leaders of National and Labour today and, among other matters, advised them of that.
His statement followed a full-day caucus meeting that began at 9am and finished about 5pm.
A spokesperson for National Party leader Bill English announced just after 7pm that "National is holding a caucus meeting tomorrow at 11am in Wellington to provide MPs with an update on coalition talks.
"A separate teleconference will then take place with the National Party board. We stress that we have had no indication of what decision New Zealand First will make.
"We have no further comment at this stage."
The media spent the day waiting in the lobby of Bowen House, where New Zealand First is based, in the hopes of an appearance by Peters.
While most MPs, including Peters, avoided media in the morning and entered the building through the carpark entrance, MPs Shane Jones and Mark Patterson walked through the front and into a media scrum.
Both gave little away, saying only that an announcement was getting closer.
Former NZ First MP Richard Prosser, who was at Parliament today to tie up loose ends, said he believed NZ First should do a deal with Labour. He said going with National would more likely resign NZ First to one term in Government.
Prosser added that he had had no contact with the party caucus or board, and that he had been asked not to access the NZ First floors of Bowen House.
Speaking in his regular interview slot on Radio Waatea today, Peters asked "for a bit of patience" and said his party was moving as fast as it can to decide on the next Government.
"Our intention always was to get this completed as fast as possible ... but to make a decision in haste would be a bad idea.
"One hesitates to give a timetable [because] then you are beleaguered by all sorts of criticisms about not keeping your promise."
Peters said the substantive negotiations were over.
"There is work to be done on sorting out exactly with great clarity what it is you have agreed on.
"You don't want people after the event to say, 'Well, actually we didn't quite agree on that' ... there is enough in politics let alone the surprises being one you could have overcome before the event even started."
Peters again said it had been necessary to wait for special votes to be counted before starting proper negotiations with National and Labour. He said the wait had been minimal compared to what happened in some other countries.
"In the case of Germany, they had elections the day after us, and they won't have decided until probably late December. Other countries take four, five, sometimes six months. Now, no one is asking for that here. We are just asking for a bit of patience."
As the afternoon dragged on, the media scrum slowly swelled in anticipation of Peters, who had not said that he would make an appearance, but has addressed media with no notice throughout the negotiation process.
When the caucus meeting finished, media fished for answers from deputy leader Ron Mark, who left the building briefly to collect his dry-cleaning. But Mark gave nothing away, saying only that 'you'll know when the boss tells you", and Peters eventually left the building away from the media spotlight, releasing a statement afterwards.
Wednesday's meeting followed secret one-on-one meetings with National leader Bill English and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday night, for which Peters drove 100m to an underground Beehive carpark to avoid being seen.
Peters talked to English and Ardern about his party's preferred Government arrangement, which the Herald understands favours ministerial posts rather than sitting on the cross benches.
Before the meetings, Peters fronted media to say that the party board was "98 per cent there" on policy proposals to be presented to National and Labour, but further issues needed to be worked out with English and Ardern.
He did not specify what those issues were, but they are expected to include the shape a government might take, any ministerial portfolios and any concerns Peters might have about working with English and Ardern as Prime Minister.