Winston has rightly claimed the balance of power

Bill English has paid some respect to Winston Peters, unlike James Shaw who rather arrogantly presumed to be able to dictate to a man who loathes the Greens.

It is just as well because it is obvious that Winston Peters has the balance of power.

Winston Peters is primed to be the kingmaker again, but he won’t yet reveal who his party, NZ First, will favour.

During his speech at NZ First headquarters in Russell, he made it clear the party won’t be committing to support either of the major parties for some days yet.

The 72-year-old political veteran has been in this situation before, and he took his time then too – in 1996 Peters went fishing instead of dealing with negotiations.

The 1996 general election was held in October and was the first to be held under the new mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system.

It took long negotiations for Peters to eventually side with Jim Bolger and the National Party who had won 50 seats, five more than Labour.

Many had predicted him to ally with Labour, but two months after the country went to the polls, Peters formed a coalition with National on 10 December.

Stuff political reporter Jo Moir has followed the NZ First leader around the country, and on Friday she reported that Peters planned to tend to his boat the morning after the election result.

Moir wrote: “It might explain why he opted to ditch Auckland, where all the other political parties are holding their election night event, in favour of Russell – it’s a lot closer to his boat in Whananaki when the sun rises on Sunday.”

We could be waiting a while for Peters to catch the big one, again.

Negotiations are going to be interesting.

The only thing that I can guarantee is that Winston Peters will gank the Greens. It just depends on how hungry Labour are to govern.

Bill English won’t want to give up the reins. Neither will his ministers. Some of them are going to have take one hard though, and I’m sure Winston has a list of names.

 

-Fairfax

 


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