Game on!

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was never a real possibility with a bare bones majority of 61 that she has been sitting on for the past fortnight. But now it is.

With the gap between National and the Labour-Green bloc narrowing, both options are viable contenders for the next Government.

Two more seats for the Labour-Green bloc strengthen not only its arm, but Winston Peters' as well.


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Without the shift in balance from the final results, Peters' New Zealand First Party faced the prospect of being forced to allow National to claim a fourth term.

That possibility remains open, but the more even contest means that Peters will be able to extract greater concessions from National.

It means the horse-trading will begin in earnest at Parliament tomorrow.

Labour and the Greens have been conducting informal talks in the past fortnight in anticipation of being absolutely ready for Labour and New Zealand First talks.

The have also assumed that Peters will refuse to deal directly with the Green Party, although that has not been confirmed.

The only thing we know is that Peters wants a deal done by next Thursday - an absurdly tight timeline given what's at stake.

But he insists it can be done.