Business hates uncertainty, that much is certain.
Great line right?
It's a solid, time-tested call for any business commentator trying to deal with the vagaries of an MMP election.
I was planning to deploy it next Saturday when I'll have a very tight window to file some meaningful words about the election result for the morning paper
But then I started to think about it (always a mistake).
"Business hates uncertainty" is a cliché and I'm not even sure it is true.
So, at the risk of making life harder next week, I've decided to look at uncertainty this week.
How much uncertainty will there actually be after this election? And does it matter?
I'm not even sure why business has a monopoly on hating uncertainty.
It's a big theme that comes through in surveys of business opinion.
Perhaps it's just a big theme for humans in general.
Are non-business people ever being polled about their attitudes to certainty?
The problem with certainty is that it only exists in the past tense.
And there are plenty of historians who'd dispute that.
But with the famous exception of death and taxes, there's not much that we can count on about the future.
I suspect the "business hates uncertainty" line is a euphemism for concern about the prospects of left-leaning parties.
If we're honest, what business really hates is law changes that will cost money and make life more difficult.
And that, of course, is fair enough.
Turkeys don't vote for Christmas and they shouldn't have to – even if Christmas is really, really popular this year.
Looking at this election it appears highly likely that they will have a left-leaning government after October 17.
Typically, business interests are more nervous about the prospect of a Labour/Green coalition than they are about Labour governing on its own.
That's a generalisation - there is a new and growing breed of young entrepreneurial greenie types out there.
But it is fair to say that the business community leans to the economic right of the spectrum, even if it is a pretty broad church on a lot of other stuff in society.
Whether Labour lands in a position to govern alone or whether it will need the Greens is the biggest uncertainty of this election.
I've talked to business people in recent days who are considering voting Labour for the first time in their lives, with a view to getting them across the line without the need for the Greens.
It looks to be a fairly fine line and one that may not be decided until special votes are counted (they usually favour the Greens).
If the Greens do get there, then we face the prospect of coalition talks and a few more days of uncertainty.
The policy concessions the Greens are able to extract could have quite an impact on the final shape of the government.
But while fears that the Greens will drag Labour broadly to the left are easy to understand that hasn't necessarily been the way MMP has worked over the years.
More often its a case of coalition partners getting a handful of specific policy concessions from coalition talks and then having power to veto some others.
It is worth noting that most of the policies that business owners find problematic are already baked in by Labour – the rise in minimum wage, increased sick leave and so on.
So, for better or worse, they look pretty certain to be implemented.
Green Party policies tend to be more concerned with social welfare and, of course, the environment.
Green policies that will have business impact tend to be quite specific.
The Food and Beverage industry will be nervous about the possibility of sugar taxes.
The energy and mining sector might be worried about the policies to phase out coal use more quickly
Farmers are likely worried about the possibility of tougher environmental restrictions.
I suspect when it comes to the crunch, Labour might be open to movement on the first two, but is likely to stick to its guns on the latter, given how dependent New Zealand is on agricultural exports right now.
Over all though, it's the general philosophical direction of the Green party that worries business groups.
The Greens are the only major party to fundamentally question the notion of economic growth being a good thing.
It is true Labour wouldn't have a handbrake on social policy (as it has with NZ First), it will have a cheerleader.
If the alternative is Labour governing alone, then it doesn't seem too relevant as an issue.
It is worth remembering that the Greens signed up to a Budget Responsibility pact with Labour prior to the 2017 election.
The parties formally committed to staying in surplus, repaying debt and keeping core Crown spending at about 30 per cent of GDP.
Covid has changed those rules for all parties but there has been no indication from Green leadership that they've backed away from the principles of fiscal responsibility.
In the grand scheme of a world living with the extreme uncertainties of Covid-19 and political chaos in the US, the upcoming New Zealand election looks fairly benign.
Business people, like all of us, will be looking to get it over with so we can get past the electioneering and get on with rebuilding the economy.