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Key Makes Progress On His Goal Of A Government By Sunday

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

By Ian Llewellyn of NZPA

Wellington, Nov 11 NZPA - National leader John Key is working towards forming a government by Sunday, though the exact details of the arrangements are still being thrashed out.

Mr Key met with ACT and United Future for the second time today and held initial talks with the Maori Party in his bid to get 70 MPs to back him on crucial confidence and supply votes in Parliament.

ACT and United Future have already pledged confidence and supply agreements, it is now a matter of finalising the nature of the deals that go with that.

On the table are ministerial posts outside Cabinet and possible policy accommodations, but at the other end of the spectrum is remaining on the cross-benches and offering no more than confidence and supply to Mr Key, or in the case of the Maori Party even abstaining.

Mr Key said good progress was being made though Mr Hide had neither declined nor accepted a ministerial role.

United Future leader Peter Dunne said he had a draft agreement that included a ministerial role and policy concessions and his deal could be finalised within two days.

After their first meeting Maori Party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples indicated they were seriously considering having a role within the National Government with the idea of ministerial posts outside of Cabinet discussed today.

Mr Key is hoping to name his Cabinet line up on Sunday or Monday, and have new ministers sworn in on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Under the law it is possible to swear in ministers before they become MPs as long as they are sworn in as MPs within 40 days.

To do this Mr Key will have to satisfy the Governor-General that he controls a majority in Parliament and that those involved are likely to be MPs.

After the swearing in next week, Mr Key plans to fly to the Apec leaders meeting in Peru.

Mr Key was hopeful of finalising what role the Maori Party might play in his administration and Dr Sharples said the Maori Party leaders would talk to its caucus about options.

"It's a whole range of issues it deals with, our policies as well as the possibility of being involved in government ... clearly we want to look for some advances for Maori and that's what it's been about," Dr Sharples said.

Mrs Turia said consultation could be completed over the weekend.

While the Maori Party leaders were talking positively, Mr Hide still talked tough to reporters before his meeting.

He repeated calls for the emission trading scheme (ETS) to be scrapped, suggested National should renege on the Kyoto Protocol, capping increases in government spending at inflation rates and pushed for his party's "three strikes your out" policy.

Speaking after his 10-minute meeting, Mr Hide said these issue were "difficult", but there was goodwill and enthusiasm on both sides to reach an agreement.

Mr Hide said the talks were moving "fairly fast" about the broad policy agenda and the structure of arrangement. Mr Key said he had an absolute guarantee of confidence and supply support from ACT, it was just a matter of sorting out what sort of relationship there was between the two parties in the Government.

"Progress is being made," Mr Key said.

Mr Dunne said he had to have some internal consultation with his party's board but he was confident that his deal could be finalised by the end of the week.

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