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Vernan Small Outlines a Likely Scenario 

Winston Peters surge in the polls is leading to some re-jigging of positions amongst the commentariat, of which Stuff's Vernan Small is one who has been around for a very long time on the Parliamentary press benches. His assessment of just where things stand at this point of the Election lead-up indicates quite a change from his previous position.

"Metres of online commentary have been taken up talking about the possibility of NZ First squeezing the Greens out of Government in a potential three-way Centre-Left Government after September 23.

But much less understood is the existential threat Winston Peters and his party represent to the three smaller parties on National's side of the House."

On current polling it appears that National and NZF could end up with 68 of the 120 (121?) seats, leaving Maori, ACT and United in a very precarious position. Nothing would give Winston greater pleasure than sidelining all three, and in particular, ensuring the reversal of what he considers to be divisive Maori Party policies adopted by English. And National's tactical voting in Ohariu, and Epson will not help perceptions of desperation.

Then comes the position of English and Nick Smith - the two who moved and seconded his removal from the Coalition several years ago. He will play his cards with consummate skill - we all know that regardless of our opinion of the man, and National must be starting to get extremely nervous as to just how that will play out for them.

He may not want the top job - an obsession amongst some commentators, but he may well want to settle some old debts by demanding changes at the top during the lead-up to the 7 October Declaration, by which time he has indicated that NZF will have made its decision, should it hold the balance of power. 

The unforeseen consequences of Meteria's Coference outburst are yet to play out, but there are signs abroad that should give real concern to both Little and Shaw - they simply cannot escape the fallout of her continuing hogging of the headlines, and their dream of going with NZF as a last resort dissolves into thin air. 

They have no-one to blame but themselves.




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