It has become standard practice in the buildup to elections for Winston Peters to emerge as a potential kingmaker for a new government.

It has happened before with Mr Peters tapping into the mood of the nation on the campaign trail and then getting enough votes to decide who will be in power.

This year looks to be heading the same way, but there is an edge to Mr Peters' early election mutterings.

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He seems to have a greater confidence - almost as if he has decided that now is his opportunity to go for a bigger prize. In recent interviews he certainly seems to be setting himself and his party up as an alternative to National and Labour, not merely the support player.

He probably has been emboldened by the political turmoil in the word over the last few years where voters have rejected establishment parties and politics to usher in a new dawn.

Not many saw Brexit happening and right up until the end no one gave Donald Trump a chance of becoming President of the United States. Both happened and turned traditional politics upside down in the process.

One gets the sense that Mr Peters is hoping to be the beneficiary of such a move against establishment parties or "neo-liberal" politics as he puts it.

While it is difficult to see New Zealand First ever being the top polling party, it certainly is not beyond the realms of possibility for the party to come in second - either as coalition partner with some weight or official opposition. Polls show Labour tracking downward and in this age of ambush voting, anything is possible.

Throw in the blandness of Bill English and Andrew Little and you have an arena where the charismatic Mr Peters can shine.

Mr Peters probably won't be our new Prime Minister later this year, but then again, stranger things have happened.