Business leaders say they will work with whoever can form a coalition government but what they want to see is a speedy resolution and a stable arrangement.

The outcome of Saturday's election remains up in the air while the special votes are counted and coalition talks take place.

Kim Campbell, chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association, said: "What we want is a fast resolution and a stable arrangement. Business will work with whoever is there."

Campbell said given the choice it would cherry pick policies from across the political parties.


But its priorities were the need for innovation and skilled workers.

New Zealand First's policies propose cutting net migration to around 10,000 people a year.

Campbell said he would reserve his judgment of what effect any immigration policy might have on business.

"Winston has not said no skilled people, just more control."

Campbell said Labour wanted a pause in immigration which overall meant more change was likely.

"We are probably going to see a fine-tuning of what we have now."

"That is not a bad thing."

Campbell said the situation was not new and Peters had been in this position at least three times before.

But he said he didn't think it would take as long as in previous elections.

"I would have thought once Winston decides which way he is leaning the result will be fairly quick."

Campbell said business and investment always paused around an election and the quarter leading up to the election had been quiet.

"Investors are being more cautious. People might put off buying a house or car. If they leave it too long it causes problems.

But he said New Zealand's economy was robust and its systems would continue to run as the country waited for the politicians to form a government.

Kirk Hope, chief executive of Business New Zealand, said businesses were looking for the country's strong economic growth to be maintained.

"Whatever shape that comes in."

Hope said that the biggest challenge would be getting clear policy certainty early on so that business could continue to make decisions.

He hoped to get a get clear view on what policy compromises were made soon after the special votes were counted on October 7.

He said there was always an element of uncertainty around elections for business.

"People tend to wait to make decisions until the policy is clear. Unless they are operating in an area where there really isn't much change."

Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, said: "The one thing business needs and wants is certainty, to give confidence to invest and employ people."

Barnett said businesses would expect there to be some compromise reached over immigration given the need for unskilled workers.

He said Labour represented uncertainty and inexperience in regards to the tax environment and whether there would be a strengthening of unions in the workforce under its governance.

Barnett said it was a lost opportunity that the Green Party had ruled itself out of working with a National-led government.

"A lot of their principles around sustainability and climate change are about changes in behaviours and there are a lot of businesses out there very focused on sustainability and climate change.

"For the Greens to be saying we wouldn't be doing a deal with National seems a lost opportunity to build on what business is doing."

Former Shareholders Association chairman Bruce Sheppard also believed National should try and do a deal with the Green Party.

"They represent the young, they care about the future, they care about the environment and the next generation, they share much of the views and the ones they most care about with National."

Sheppard said Labour had treated the Greens badly and with little respect.

"While counter-intuitive, it is what I think John would do.

"What you get is a softening of your image, you get a young vote, you bridge the generation perception and you bring them into the fold."

He said after 27 years and a significant maturing over the past six years the Green party deserved a chance to be at the table.

Rob Campbell, a professional director who sits on the board of Sky City Entertainment Group, Summerset Group and Tourism Holdings, urged business to rise above its own needs

"Business can tend, as every other sector can, to be focused on what relatively benefits us.

"We should rise above that and be saying to any government that this is what we want, what we need and we will work with you on the implementation."

He urged business to focus on creating productivity growth to support an improvement in living standards, ensuring equality of income, social treatment and wealth and creating environmental outcomes which were consistent with the aspirations of community and New Zealand's global position.