New Zealand First leader Winston Peters returned to Wellington this morning to discuss coalition options with his colleagues.
With neither National nor Labour having enough seats to govern alone, both need New Zealand First's nine seats - based on preliminary results - to form a government. Labour would need the Greens as well as New Zealand First.
Mr Peters, who arrived at Wellington Airport on the same flight as National campaign manager Steven Joyce, was met by a contingent of media.
Hilarious moment on the plane - Stephen Joyce waiting (quite a while) for Winston to take his seat pic.twitter.com/0kX0hqOcr3— wallacechapman (@wallacelchapman) September 26, 2017
He would only say he was in the capital to talk to his caucus and declined to answer further questions.
The caucus meeting was due to take place at Parliament early this afternoon.
Mr Peters has said he won't agree on a deal until the count of the special votes is known on 7 October.
Speaking before the meeting, New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin said no single party had a 'moral mandate' to form a government.
Ms Martin said she didn't expect what she called real talks to happen until after special votes were counted.
"This is MMP," she said.
But, to put it in perspective, Germany was not expecting to get a government until Christmas, she said.
"I don't think we're going to be here waiting 'til Christmas."
New Zealand First's new MP Shane Jones arrived at the airport this morning clutching two boxes of seafood.
"This is Spirits Bay kaimoana - crayfish. I don't know which is which one is female and one is male...one's rations for the soldiers and the other is a tribute to Caesar," Mr Jones joked.
"They've been cooked Tai Tokerau style - steamed, but we don't do premature heat in the North it's a gradual process to cook the crayfish."
Mr Jones said the New Zealand First caucus wouldn't be carrying out coalition negotiations today but rather, meeting to learn how to start working with one another.
"There's some new roosters in our caucus of whom I'm one - obviously I'm not new to Parliament."
Mr Jones said he thought he might be a little too rough around the edges to be involved in coalition talks himself and he'd leave that up to the party's rangatira, Mr Peters.
Labour's leader Jacinda Ardern was out and about today at a school for teenage parents near Wellington.
But she was still very much focused on the talks that will happen over the coming weeks.
Ms Ardern said there was policy alignment between Labour and New Zealand First but she is not creating any expectations.
"My job is to make sure that Labour is in the best place possible to start talks to form a stable, durable coalition government.
"What we'll be making sure of, when we go into those negotiations, we're taking them incredibly seriously, doing the preparatory work but also leaving the space for Mr Peters and also for the Green Party that they need to alongside their colleagues."