44, 42, 3: Those are the numbers that answer, at least in part, why Bill English should stay in the job.

Whoever is feeding Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper messages of coups needs to shut up, and the Nats are fine.

Bill English didn't lose the election, he ran a good campaign - better than even he thought he would.

On the night, he beat his nearest competitor by a mile. He simply got snookered by an old bloke who holds grudges, and with his 7 per cent share of the vote sought payback.


We all saw it for what it is, and the Newshub poll last night has delivered 3 per cent support - the crash from election night that was always coming for behaving the way Peters has.

Making this worse, is the fact he's retiring before the next vote, and that will be the end of the party.

Which brings us to the bigger picture. Labour can be pleased with the 42, that's the sort of bounce government and a good first 100 days will give you.

But they still desperately need to be the most popular party. You cant legitimately govern when you trail the opposition and the party that leveraged you into power is dying. The Labour-Green number has to be over 50 per cent or they are toast in 2020.

The Greens, by the way, escape. They made the smart move to stay out of this arrangement, sit there on a confidence and supply deal, and pick and choose what they involve themselves with. I said at the time it was smart, and it's proving to be.

NZ First will not come back from this.

If the first 100 days has been good for Labour, it's been good because NZ First has been non-existent. They've vanished, even if you take the Machiavellian side of their approach in getting Labour to power out of it.

They must have seen what we've all seen in the past 20 years of MMP: small parties in government die. They don't differentiate themselves, they don't do enough individually to draw the sort of presence required to boost support, and if they carry on the way they've started, they will simply vanish and no one will notice.

But what this poll tells us, and if I am right and there is no way back for the party, never again will they or their ilk be able to go to the election saying things like 'we'll let you know after the vote who we support'.

That trick has been played - and the 3 per cent crash shows it's a busted flush.