Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says the large parties have not become "victims" in the government formation process with New Zealand First.
She is pushing back against the notion that big parties had made excessive concessions to Winston Peters' party.
"A party only extracts whatever deals another party is willing to give up and to do a deal on," she told Newshub this morning.
"We have a lot of power in our hands. It is up to us to decide what is incredibly important for to us to deliver in government.
"We've got a role to play as well. Concessions are only made if we are willing to make them and there is give and take in a negotiation as you would expect.
"There is no major party that is a victim in these talks," she said.
"We are a party in these talks."
Ardern also said there had been a lot of commentary about how the major parties had become "lapdogs" in the process.
"I really push back on that. In these negotiations we have it within our power to say these are the things we are willing to talk about and compromise on and these are the things that we are not."
Speaking later on TVNZ 1 Ardern also clarified the so-called wink she gave during a video blog to Labour supporters at the weekend when she talked about "that little wait on our hands".
She said it was involuntary.
"I appear to have a twitch of some description and I did not even realise at the time that I had done it," she said.
"My father actually told me last night he has the same affliction so it may be a genetic issue."
The New Zealand First caucus and board is set to enter its second day of deliberations after having had five days of parallel policy negotiations to get two separate agreements from National and Labour.
Labour has reached its own support agreement with the Green Party, which it would also need as well as New Zealand First to get it over the line.
The Green Party is not expected to get that deal formally ratified by a special meeting of 150 delegated members unless New Zealand First goes with Labour.