Were we ever really expecting the decision to be today?

Have the years of watching Winston be Winston not taught us anything about what he says and what he does being two completely different things?

But no matter when it comes - tomorrow, Saturday, two months, next Tuesday - we already have ourselves some winners and losers.

And no matter what happens today it's entirely possible the winners might still be losers and vice versa.

Advertisement

We've had a lot of theories along the way as well.

The suggestion that coalition talks should be held in the open - laudable but laughable.

The concept of a grand coalition? Naive in theory yes, in reality not the slightest chance.

The best suggestion for the deal that never was - but could so easily have been - was the teal coalition, the Nats and Greens.

The Greens held themselves to ransom by tying themselves to Labour.

They needlessly hamstrung themselves and did the exact opposite of New Zealand First.

A teal coalition could well have worked and the Greens would almost certainly have got more out of it than they will get if the nod goes their way tomorrow (or whenever Winston decides).

The idea that the MMP threshold be dropped given the demise of the small parties - once again hopeslessly naive. We don't want more parties for the sake of it. We want more parties if they earn the right, and the right must be hard-earned and not handed out too freely.

Small parties are fringe parties, fringe parties represent fringe ideas, fringe ideas lead to instability, especially if those parties have too much power.

The idea we have rules around coalition talks, rules around who calls who, who gets first go.

The idea of Winston as PM. Please.

The reality is that all of these ideas are merely excuses.

They are ways around the reality that what we have is a flawed system and New Zealand First's situation has (once again) put it all on stark display.

That is not to say MMP doesn't work, because it can, and has. But it is to say its greatest weakness has been exposed.

So who is the winner? New Zealand First. Or are they?

I've predicted a confidence and supply deal because every single party under MMP that's gone into coalition has lived to regret it, or in most cases not lived at all.

So knowing that, why would you try another one? If they have, they're dead in the water. Winston will get his day in the sun, but ultimately, and this will be the biggest irony of all, he will end up a loser, and with it his dream of legitimacy and legacy will be gone.

Either National or Labour and the Greens are winners, but they too if it's a coalition, almost certainly will end up losers as well.

The Nats a fourth term, yes, but what sort of fourth term? A fourth term that leads to a historic fifth? Or a fourth term of decline in fighting and decay?

For Labour, if it's a coalition I feel almost sorry for them. Jacinda Ardern should be leader of an opposition not Prime Minister.

She should use these three (if not less) valuable years to warm up her act, sharpen up her new party, and be ready to pick up the wreckage she so luckily managed to avoid.

Which is why a confidence deal with National is my pick.

National have the most support, and deserve first shot.

A government, no matter what the hue, has a better chance without Peters inside the operation.

Yes, there is an element of instability on a ongoing basis, but Peters knows that and won't push his hand.

Equally Peters isn't hampered by cabinet responsibility, he doesn't have to defend a lot of ideas, actions and policy he doesn't like.

He will have extracted concessions these past few days, and for that he can say he got the best deal.

And he gets to keep the government honest without the baggage of actually being in the government and taking flack for everything they do.

But as we sit here waiting, none of it fills me with hope. Winston is rogue, he's unreliable, he is not MMP's best representative. He's a bloke with support wildly disproportionate to his swagger.

That's not good for the country.