NZ First Leader Winston Peters was pouring cold water last night on claims by Labour Leader Andrew Little that Labour, the Greens and NZ First could shortly start to develop some joint policy positions.
Mr Little made the claims to the website, STUFF.
But Mr Peters has long maintained that NZ First would not commit itself to any potential coalition before an election.
His standard response is to say he would wait till the voters had spoken; which is usually taken to mean he would talk to the party with the largest share of the vote first.
And last night he was adamant there were no joint policies in the wind.
“There are no joint policies we are working on, full stop,” he said.
“We have dialogue with other parties on various other matters mainly relating to the conduct of the House and Parliament.
“But we are certainly not working on any joint policy with any other party.”
However it appears things are more straightforward between the other two members of the potential Opposition coalition, Labour and the Greens.
They are coming together on a policy relating to dealing with the failure of the big banks to pass on Official Cash Rate decreases to mortgages.
Mr Little wants to regulate and Green co-leader James Shaw prefers to let the market do the job though he would invest another $100 million in capital in Kiwibank to allow it to be more competitive and thus force the big four to lower their rates.
“I could completely sympathise with where Andrew was coming from,” he told TVOne’s “Q+A” yesterday.
“People are really annoyed that when the Reserve Bank cut the OCR down to 2.25%, that they didn’t see that pass through.
“So I completely sympathise with where it’s coming from, but my preference would be to intervene in the market to drive competition rather than to legislate.”
National Party sources say they have recently been watching the relationship between Mr Little and Mr Peters with interest and question whether Mr Little is trying to drive some of the NZ First vote to Labour.
Traditionally NZ First’s vote goes high when Labour’s is low and vice versa. NZ First is seen as home for those who may have voted National but now don’t want to but can’t bring themselves to vote Labour. That was the kind of trend seen in the Northland by-election last year.
That is why it’s in Mr Little’s interest to have joint policies with NZ First and why it is not in Mr Peters’ interest.