Winston Peters said the C-word.

Nobody says the C-word. I mean, I'm sure the F-word is said more often around Parliament.

So I nearly fell off my chair when he said "capitalism" during his speech announcing NZ First had chosen Labour.

Read more: Vaughan Gunson: The joys of spring are upon us
Vaughan Gunson: Winston Peters has to choose which party to go to
Vaughan Gunson: And the New Zealand General Election awards go to...

Advertisement

Winston suggested we weren't wrong if we blamed capitalism for inequality. Astounding.

Here I was expecting him to blame immigration for New Zealand's problems. But not a mention.

Winston and NZ First have hoisted the red spinnaker and sailed leftwards, blown by a steady wind for change.

In doing so, NZ First will have to accept a working arrangement with the Greens and some policy wins for them as well.

Actually, I reckon Winston's speech was aimed at the 170 Green Party delegates voting that night on whether to support a government which included himself.

Members of the Green Party are the most likely to use the C-word, and not often positively.

In fact, they might even combine the F-word and the C-word to express their distaste for the economic system that's pushing the planet to the brink.

Winston's speech was perfectly pitched to get any Green Party sceptics on board.

So why did NZ First go with Labour?

Well, my view was that if NZ First had gone with National, it would have been the end of the party in three years time.

Being no great fan of Winston and unconcerned for his legacy, I quite fancied this outcome.

In 2020, Labour and the Greens would have been odds-on to govern on their own.

To me, it wasn't so much a question of who Winston chose, or which policy concessions he won (I'm sure National threw the kitchen sink at it), but how keen Labour was to go with Winston.

To get into power now, in more difficult circumstances than likely in three years time.

It might have been politically expedient, for instance, to leave National to cop the fallout from the housing bubble finally bursting, given its inaction had done so much to create the problem.

Jacinda Ardern and Labour, however, are going to seize the moment and attempt to humanise aspects of capitalism. That's got my support.

In doing a deal with NZ First, Labour is giving a lifeline to the party to survive post-Winston Peters.

The Labour leadership will be desperate to make the coalition work, so it has an option to govern other than with the Greens.

Taking in the full picture, and factoring in personal ambition, the government we've ended up with makes sense.

And it reflects the majority's desire for change.

The big worry is how immigration is handled.

We need to hold Winston to his words: it's capitalism that's to blame for inequality, not immigrants.

The best way we can support progressive social outcomes for people and the environment is to criticise this Labour-NZ First government when they stray from those goals.

It's going to be gripping.

This is an interventionist-inclined government that's put a question mark on the C-word.