The Coalition Government is a year old and it’s combined support is greater than the former government ever had. 57% according to the latest One News poll. Oh I know, the nats want us to see only the comparison between them and Labour, which is narrower (43% to 45%), but it is not correct to do so. This ain’t no minority government, and its support must be taken as a whole.
So, as long as Winston Peters is around, NZ First holds the balance of power. But when will the septuagenarian quit? Not this term, and I think he is likely to stick around for the next one to. This is NZ, we have short three year terms, and Peters shows no signs of incapacity. Further, he has the charismatic Shane Jones behind him, who has the profile and ability to succeed as a future leader of NZ First.
I would dare to predict that this will be the final Government that Winston Peters is a part of. There is so much bad blood between him and National, and far more policy crossover with the Labour Party centrists. Populism holds this Government together. Jacinda and Winston are populists, as was John Key, and to an extent Helen Clark. She was a special hybrid. Simon Bridges is not a populist, nor was Bill English. Elections do tend to reward popularity. So keep Simon in his place to ensure that National gets comfortable in opposition.