Tomorrow's D day.

The decision that we'll have to live with for the next three years.

It's also the day when the real turkey's talked.

For the past several days they're been posturing on policy, with Jacinda Ardern emerging from the talks saying they've been relentlessly positive. Well, in fairness, she didn't use relentless, but if challenged it would have flowed as easily as a Winston Peters' castigation of the pesky media who've been camped out watching the comings and goings for the full, frank and meaningless comments that are reluctantly given from the participants.

Peters knows how to drive a hard bargain, think about what he extracted from the National Party that had expelled him just three years before he negotiated the first MMP deal with them.

The abolition of the superannuation surcharge (essentially a tax on wealthier pensioners), free medical care for under six year olds and dropping the profit models of the public health system.

Tomorrow the emphasis is likely to switch from policy to portfolios, or the baubles.

Trouble for Winston Peters is that he's pretty well been there, done that, Treasurer, a title that's only ever been used by him but is now off limits to him, Deputy Prime Minister, his for the asking, and Foreign Affairs.

Peters has much less power now than he did when he did the original deal, 17 MPs then and nine now.

An insider in the National caucus in 1996 said the final crunch came down to this.


The MPs were gathered at Parliament, there as a knock at the door and it was opened to a New Zealand First emissary who asked to see the caretaker Prime Minister, Jim Bolger.

He same back into the caucus room after a few minutes and announced Peters wanted five of his MPs in Cabinet and Bolger told them he'd agreed.

A murmur went around as nervous MPs, expecting the Cabinet nod themselves, mentally did the numbers.

About twenty minutes later there was another knock at the door and Bolger was again summoned out of the room, returning after a few minutes to tell them Peters also wanted three Ministers outside of Cabinet and told them he'd agreed.

Peters must have been sitting in his office thinking this is all too easy.

So the emissary was sent off again for a word with Bolger who came back into the room after a few minutes declaring that Peters wanted the Deputy Prime Minister's job along with the role of Treasurer.

The rest is history, and so was Labour.

A bitter Helen Clark, who'd been charm itself to Peters earlier in the day, said he'd betrayed his supporters who voted for a government of change even though Labour trailed National by seven seats.

So one thing is for sure, Peters knows tomorrow he'll be damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.