Vernon Small at Stuff reports:
Prime Minister John Key says Winston Peters’ dislike of him stands in the way of a deal between National and NZ First in 2014.
Mr Key said he expected Mr Peters to back a Labour government, despite his long-standing clashes with the Green party.
“I think that the argument that he really really dislikes the Greens, let’s put it politely, that’s all true . . . but he’s not overly enamoured with me,” Mr Key said.
He and Mr Peters had chatted during a trip to Samoa as part of a New Zealand delegation.
“I had a brief chat to him but realistically I think he will go with Labour . . . Even if we were prepared to change, and that would be a big if, he was always going with Labour . . . in 2008,” he said. “I think it’s just personal.”
My view is that Peters is strongly motivated for revenge on John Key for ruling him out in 2008.
There is an argument that if Peters holds the balance of power in 2014, the bigger revenge would be to keep National in Govt but reliant and subservient to Winston, rather than sacking him.
The factors at play, if Peters holds the balance of power (and assuming National does not rule him out as they did in 2008 and 2011) are:
- Biggest party – Peters has always said he would negotiate with the biggest party first. Note that does not mean conclude a deal.
- No of parties needed to form a Govt – better to be the No 2 party in Govt than the No 3 party.
- Policy alignment
- Relationships with leader and front-bench
The first two factors favour National, the last two favour Labour.