The Fairfax poll has 68% saying they want coalition preferences known before the election. This is somewhat naive as such things really do depend on how much vote each party gets. A major factor in 1996 in NZ First choosing National over Labour was that NZ First/National could form a two-party majority while with Labour would have needed the Alliance.
But we do know a fair bit already about who might go with whom. Let’s review:
ACT: Would only support National
Green: Would only support Labour
Maori: 90% likely to support Labour, 10% chance could support National
Progressive: Would only support Labour
United Future: Claims it will negotiate first with largest party. If all other things are equal I would say 80% likely to support National.
NZ First: This is the big one which people want to know. I put him at 75% likely to support Labour. My rationale is below:
1) Claiming Policy Wins
There is a strong incentive for Peters to choose to keep the incumbent party in Government, as he did in 1996. The reason for this is he can then claim credit for any new policies or initiatives such as extra police.
However if you go in with current Opposition parties, then it is much harder to distinguish what are