The NZ Herald has printed a piece of fiction which no doubt the 9th floor has been pushing around the gallery for a few weeks as I heard Barry Soper muse on it also on Agenda, and also NBR bizarrely has mused on it.
It paints the scenario of Winston Peters being PM in a National – NZ First Government. This is not going to happen. EVER. EVER. EVER. A disgruntled party member would throw a grenade into the caucus room, rather than allow such a deal to happen.
Some may claim that Peters did get to be Deputy PM in 1996. Yes, this is true. But there is a *world* of difference between Deputy PM and PM. One has significant influence in Government, the other runs the Government.
But regardless of the deep loathing of Peters by many within National, in the latest poll NZ First would have 10 MPs, and National would have 48 MPs – around five times as much. NZ First is 2% below what it got last time, and National is 16% above its 2002 result.
Incidentally the most likely coalition on last night’s TV One poll is a Labour/Maori coalition which would have 63/123 seats. So why not stories about Tariana as co-PM? They are about as credible.
It amazes me that the media will give such credence to these stories, when even a skerrick of common sense tells you it would never ever happen.
Personally I have no doubt that given a choice Peters will offer support to a Labour-led Government. By going into coalition with an incumbent Government, you can then claim for yourself certain policy changes. However if you support a new Government, then it is much harder to get credit for new policies. Plus supporting Labour will help their claim to be a centrist party.
UPDATE: Don Brash has come out and squashed this ridicolous 9th floor inspired rumour. Don said “”If we talk to other parties. . . we will not sell our souls just to get into office, and we most certainly will not be offering the leadership of the next government as a bargaining chip.”