A common discussion topic is what will Winston do if he does hold the balance of power after the election. I don’t know what he will decide if he does, but here is what I think are the six factors in order from least influential to most influential.
- Views of his caucus and board – zero influence. Despite what they may think this will not be a collective decision. Winston will decide.
- Which minor parties does he dislike the most. I’d say the Maori Party and the Greens. He will try and lock them both out of ministerial roles if possible.
- Which party leader does he dislike the most? It would have been John Key by far if Key was still leader. I’m not sure he dislikes English or Ardern particularly. He does hate David Seymour a lot though.
- Policy compatability. This strongly favours Labour.
- Can he govern with just one other party. Winston gets much more power in a two party coalition than a three party coalition. If one of the major parties can govern just with NZ First and the other needs a third player, then more likely to go with the two party option.
- Will they make him Prime Minister? This is no longer a viable option so off the table. But he did have dreams of this happening when Labour were polling in the low 20s. A result of Labour 20%, NZ First 16% and Greens 12% could have allowed him to push this option. But Jacinda becoming Labour Leader has thankfully saved us from this fate.
So overall I think Winston will go with Labour, so long as they can make 61 seats between them. If they can’t make 61 seats then he might go with National. I’d rather he didn’t go with National. Personally I think opposition would be preferable to being part of the inevitable chaos that comes with Winston in Government. But at least it would be fun times for journalists and commentators.