Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and NZ First leader Winston Peters have done a round of interviews to mark the Government's first anniversary, but if Ardern was hoping for an indication of commitment for 2020 she was disappointed.

Ardern and Peters did a round of media interviews together to mark the coalition Government's first anniversary on Friday.

Both seemed pretty happy with how things are going and each other but Peters baulked when asked about the possibility of an agreement ahead of the 2020 election, even not to criticise each other on the campaign.

"The band will start playing in 2020, the dance will start and you've gotta see how things might go at the end of the dance, if you want to see it in political terms. We have never made choices before the election."

Advertisement

Asked if Ardern would give him any assurance that NZ First would not be locked out if Labour and the Greens could form a Government alone, Peters interrupted and said he did not want any such assurance.

Ardern said her focus was on running the Government.

"People don't want to hear us talking about what happens in two years' time. They just want us to get on with it."

Peters' NZ First party is at five per cent in the polls – teetering on the precipice of the threshold to get back into Parliament.

Many smaller parties have fallen by the wayside after being part of a governing arrangement.

Peters said it was important those parties made sure they got the credit for the gains they had, but compromises had to be made for the sake of smooth government.

"What matters in the end is how successful we are."

He said the one handicap was the amount of time it took to get things such – such as housing built and infrastructure put in place.

"Otherwise it's been a a most satisfactory operation."

In their first year together, Labour and NZ First have had some differences of opinion, most notably over policy.

NZ First managed to force changes to plans to repeal 90-day trials so smaller businesses could use them and refused a repeal of the three-strikes legislation in law and order.

Nor did it like plans for a new agency to deal with Crown-Iwi relations. Communication has not always been top notch – just this week NZ First was not told of Ardern's decision to rule out any further regional fuel taxes before she did so.

Ahead lies debate over Labour's plans for industrial relations reforms.

However, Ardern denied that the arrangement had hindered Labour's ability to deliver the change she had campaigned on.

She pointed to issues such as housing, infrastructure the environment and regional development as areas of common ground. "And on each of them we've set bold, ambitious goals."

She said KiwiBuild was going ahead, there were climate change targets and the Provincial Growth Fund was delivering investment to the regions on a scale not seen in a lifetime.

"I absolutely believe we have the potential to create huge change for New Zealand. Things never happen at the speed that perhaps even politicians would like. They take time."

Ardern frequently calls for more kindness in politics while Peters is renowned for his combative approach to the Opposition and often the media.

Ardern said Peters was much misunderstood and in her experience was respectful in his workings with others.

Of the contrast between his approach to National's woes over the last week and her decision to stay out of it, she grins.

"I'm going to do things in my way, but politics would be a dull place without the experience, the humour that the Deputy Prime Minister brings."

The coalition government got a high score from one of its harshest critics – Newstalk ZB's host Mike Hosking. Hosking delivered a nine out of ten.

Ardern said it was akin to getting an A in the end of year school report after getting E's all year.

"So yes, it did surprise me."

Winston Peters' chips in "everybody has moments of great clarity and clearly he had one."

Rather predictably, they mark each other "at the top end of the scale."