John Armstrong’s column in the Herald floats the idea that John Key could do a deal with Winston Peters in which Peters goes into coalition with Key and in return Key steps down in the last year of his third term and makes Winston Peters Prime Minister:
Peters has been consistent from election to election in stressing NZ First – should the party hold the balance of power – will talk first to the party with the most seats in Parliament.
That party will almost certainly be National. It is an advantage that National will not squander. The big question is whether National will be willing to trade the one bauble of office which Peters has never enjoyed (and which Labour cannot realistically offer) to secure his signature on a confidence and supply agreement.
Peters has been a finance minister, a foreign minister and a deputy prime minister. That leaves one large and obvious gap in his CV.
Will National seek to find ways around the significant constitutional obstacles to enable the leader of a minor party to do a stint as prime minister – obstacles such as could he realistically sack a Cabinet minister from the majority party?
There would be some benefits for National beyond the retention of power.
It is assumed that Key will quit politics some time in National’s third term, assuming it gets one. Knowing he might get up to a year or so in the top job would be a huge incentive for Peters to ensure – unlike its predecessor in the 1990s – a National-NZ First administration actually goes the distance.
I have a pretty good track record of predicting what Key will do, all based on the simple premise that Key is not stupid or insane and will do things that are sensible and advantageous to himself and his party. So I’m gonna go on record and predict that this will not happen; instead – if he does decide to stand down – Key will announce that if re-elected he will serve his full third term but not stand for a fourth term.
Although I don’t really think Armstrong thinks any of his will happen either. This is probably a bad faith column furthering some not-immediately-apparent agenda of his own.