This was a day we were all looking forward to with eager anticipation.

We'd thought we were finally going to find out whether our ticks had done the trick.

It was a day that was in a political sense quite historic, the day of the first MMP election, October the 12th 1996 and we had thought it was the day that we were going to be put out of our misery.

Instead it's history repeating itself with Winston Peters in the box seat again, keeping us waiting, although they've all become better at MMP, including the New Zealand First leader who'll later today leave the negotiating table to contemplate, or more likely to leave them to contemplate, what price power.

Policy platforms will have been built with both parties, now they'll turn their attention to what they're prepared to sacrifice when it comes to seats at the Cabinet table, that's the logistical side of the equation.

Once the bids are in, and the highest bidder's chosen, the announcement will be made.

But if knowledge is power then Winston Peters is without doubt the most powerful politician in the country.


After a week of talking he now knows National and Labour's points of strength and weakness.

This week has been an intelligence gathering exercise for him, he now knows what policies each of the two main parties see as sacrosanct and which ones they're prepared to sacrifice.

He'll no doubt know what Labour really thinks of The Greens, or how important they are in the order of things, but he won't know what they think of him because Jacinda Ardern most certainly wouldn't have gone there for fear of causing offence.

There's one family that wouldn't have been longing for an end to the coalition negotiations, the owners of The Green Parrot restaurant in Wellington, the long time, late night hangout for the politicians.

Winston Peters is a regular there, as he was the other night, sitting at the head of the table with his team, curtain drawn to block prying eyes from the outside, flanked by an attentive Shane Jones and Tracey Martin.

He's been such a regular customer over the years he's featured in a mural on the wall with other well known diners.

Sitting several tables away, out of earshot but no doubt wishing they were in it, was Labour's deputy Kelvin Davis and Willie Jackson.

They'll hear soon enough but whether they like what they hear is another matter.

There was another expectant diner at The Parrot last night, there with her sidekick Kelvin Davis, along with acolytes Grant Robertson and Annette King, but unfortunately for Jacinda Ardern, Peters was a no show.

One thing is for certain though, at the end of all this Bill English and Jacinda Ardern will either be commiserating or celebrating.