New Zealand parties hold talks to form government after final vote tally

Both National and Labour have met for talks with the Mr Peters as they try to form the next Government

The New Zealand First party will meet with the ruling National Party, led by Prime Minister Bill English, at midday and then in the afternoon with the Labour Party, led by Jacinda Ardern who nearly single-handedly boosted her party's chances after assuming the party's leadership in August.

Mr English said National had clearly finished 10 seats ahead of Labour and also ahead of a Labour/Greens alliance.

The nationalist New Zealand First Party won 7.2 per cent of the votes, leaving it with the balance of power in the formation of the next government.

New Zealand's two main parties prepared on Saturday to intensify negotiations with kingmaker MP Winston Peters after the counting of postal and overseas votes from last month's general election failed to break a two-week political deadlock.

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English remains confident of forming government - despite the loss of the two seats.

The Labour-Green bloc picked up two extra seats while National has lost two in the final election result.

The Act party continues to hold one parliamentary seat that could assist National in government, but is essentially irrelevant to coalition negotiations.

Green Party leader James Shaw echoed her words.

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"I don't think it weakens it significantly at all", he said, referring to National's negotiating position.

"The results released today push us closer towards the change of government that so many New Zealanders want", he said.

English added he had known Peters a long time and the National party would not rule anything out before talking privately to Peters. The combination would form a new government with a three-seat parliamentary majority.

Now the final tally is known, serious negotiations between NZ First and the major parties are expected to begin in earnest tomorrow.

He has opened preliminary coalition talks with both parties in recent days and given himself a deadline of next Thursday to make a decision. Parties receive seats in Parliament in proportion to their party vote share while seats are filled firstly by winning electorate candidates and secondly by candidates on the party's list.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said she welcomed the final tally.

The National Party has held power for the past nine years.

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