COMMENT:

A year before the election campaign, it's odds-on that when all's said and done, NZ First will again choose the Prime Minister.

This would be a first. Since the advent of MMP, no small party has broken the 5 per cent threshold after joining a coalition. This time, both NZ First and the Greens are on track to make it.

The difference is that Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters have handled the brute politics of coalition government better than Jim Bolger, Helen Clark, John Key or Peters himself on previous occasions.

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Past practice was to seek a facade of