Political revelations writ large

7:37 pm on 28 November 2017

The big revelation of the day regarding Labour and New Zealand First's 'secret' coalition document was the reason it shrank from 38 to 33 pages - the font was changed.

Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters speak after signing the coalition agreement.

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The font was blown up to a larger one during the talks so 'everyone' could read it.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her deputy Winston Peters have once again had to defend the decision not to make the 33 pages of notes public, with National claiming they now look like they have something to hide.

Ms Ardern and Mr Peters said the notes referred to possible policies the government may act on in the future, but have not been committed to.

She has refused requests for the notes to be released on the basis they don't form an official document, a line she maintained during this afternoon's parliamentary question time.

"The coalition document has been released and is publicly available ... but when it comes to the other ideas that were discussed, if they are found to be workable and likely to be progressed the details will of course be released."

In response to questioning from National's deputy, Mr Peters confirmed he had referred to a 38-page document, "but, of course, under a different font it got down to 33."

"Who has abbreviated that 38-page document down to 33 pages?" Ms Bennett asked.

"A staff member aware of modern technology changed the font," Mr Peters said.

No caption

Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

In response to later questions from the media about why he had changed his mind about releasing the document, after saying it would be made public the day after the new government was announced, he said that was an "absolutist" view.

"We're working on a number of things ... and whether they stack up in terms of the budgeting commitments."

Asked again about the documents formatting, he said: "Take a wild guess, it was the font."

"If you want to sit around a room where people understand quickly you've got to go to a larger font."

It was a just a decision someone made, and "wisely so", he said.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs