The Government formation talks verged on farce yesterday when Winston Peters refused to divulge the names of the NZ First board who, he says, will have the final say as to what sort of arrangement he makes with either National or Labour.
That may be this weekend; maybe Monday; maybe not.
Peters says that before the meetings can take place the notes of the talks with the two parties will have to be analysed and cross-checked.
In fact, the board names were quickly revealed by RNZ, and some members actually cited their membership of it on their social media profiles.
They are a mixed bunch.
Some (Sue Sara, Toa Greening, Julian Paul, and Anne- Marie Andrew) have been candidates for NZ First and have public profiles.
Others (Sue Sara and Robert Monds) appear to be employees of the party or Parliiamentary Services.
At least one – former president, Kevin Gardener, is involved in Grey Power.
The office holders include an Auckland insurance sales executive, Julian Paul and a Waitaki resident, John Thorn.
They are elected to the board during a closed session of the NZ First convention each year.
But how often the board meets or what it actually does are mysteries.
The party did promise in 2016 that it was going to establish a full-time office in Wellington, but that never happened.
The board clearly operates in the shadows and does not report to the annual conference nor does it ever issue media releases accounting for its activities.
It has to be assumed that it is unlikely to differ with Peters and the caucus on a matter as fundamental as forming a Government.
Ironically it may be National that faces a potential challenge in getting its party to offer 100% support for any deal with NZ First.
Party officials say they are getting a lot of feedback from members saying that they don’t want to see any big concessions made to NZ First.
The blogger, David Farrar, who is also the party’s pollster, has written some pieces opposing a deal with Peters.
Today he described Peters’ decision not to name the board as ”a reminder of the chaos to come with whichever party is unlucky enough to get chosen by Winston.”
Posts like this are said to be having some influence on party members’ opinions.
At the same time, the National Caucus appears to be being kept in the dark.
One MP asked POLITIK if there was “any gossip? – because I have heard nothing.”
Meanwhile, the Government itself has more or less ground to a halt.
Beehive staffers have little or nothing to do, and the flow of announcements from the Government has stopped.