Shane Jones may have always thought he was the most important politician in New Zealand.
Simon Bridges has made it so when he ruled out working with New Zealand First.
And while the underlying motivation of ruling out New Zealand First was to kill off the party – a perfectly legitimate goal for a rival party – Bridges' decision will have the opposite effect.
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It will almost certainly strengthen New Zealand First, weaken National and put pressure on Bridges' leadership.
What happens in Northland when Jones stands for New Zealand First will play a key role in that and could determine the next Government.
The focus on Northland in the September general election will be as intense as any byelection, and Shane Jones will have the stage he was born to fill.
As one of New Zealand's best retail politicians, Jones will be up against first-term National MP Matt King, who is unproven in handling the pressure of an important contest.
It should be quite a ride. Jones is the closest anyone in Parliament has come to emulating the creative, entertaining and occasionally bewildering rhetoric of the late Mike Moore.
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This election, the voting incentives and disincentive will be different to last time and the byelection.
Last election, when it was King vs Winston Peters, there was absolutely no incentive for Labour or Green supporters to again back Peters as the Northland MP.
Not only was it looking probable his New Zealand First party would hold the balance of power, there was a very live possibility he could have installed a National Government.
The centre-left are clearly very savvy voters in the north. In the 2015 byelection when the effect of electing Winston Peters was very clear at the outset – one extra seat to the Labour-led Opposition - they voted for Peters strategically.
In 2017, when the outcome was a lottery, they did not take the risk.
Northland voters won't have the same quandary this year.
Simon Bridges' decision has made choices easier for the centre-left of Northland because New Zealand First could only go with a Labour-led Government, not National.
There is no risk for a Labour or Greens supporter in Northland giving his or her electorate vote to Jones, and only potential benefit if a Jones win means New Zealand First is guaranteed a place in Parliament, even if it falls under 5 per cent.
The bigger risk is that if Jones does not win Northland and New Zealand First fails the threshold, Labour and the Greens would not have enough support for a second term and National gets power.
They will work that out in Northland. Even if Matt King's vote holds, the most obvious path to victory for the current Government is to have all three parties returned and getting Jones to reverse King's 1389 majority.
The secret desire of the Left for a Labour-Greens coalition Government where Fair Pay Agreements and wealth taxes whiz through without impediment is not impossible but is improbable.
At some point, Peters might consider revising his immediate response to National's decision - which was to suggest there would be ways around the decision.
It might make more sense to accept it as the gift that it is and to actively campaign for the re-election of the current Government.
There is no doubt Labour would have preferred Winston Peters to be standing in Northland than Shane Jones, who has frequently tested Jacinda Ardern's leadership skills with his maverick behaviour and made her look weak.
Peters is more careful to show respect. Jones does so under sufferance.
But Ardern does not need a formal deal with New Zealand First in order for Labour and Green voters to see what is best for their side of politics. And she does not have to specifically spell it out, either.
And, as soon as it becomes clear that Jones will win Northland, New Zealand First across the country will start picking up support from soft National supporters who don't believe National can win.
Bridges' decision so early in election year provides plenty of time for a lot to go wrong with his theory of killing off New Zealand First and riding to power with a support party or two.
There is little chance,even if the Māori Party makes it back to Parliament, that it would go with National, given its demise after three terms in Government with National. That point was reinforced by president Che Wilson this week.
There are several other things wrong about the decision.
The suggestion it was unanimously supported is wrong. Yes, the caucus may have unanimously applauded and accepted it collectively as they must. It was a decision made by a very tight group of people, Bridges, Paula Bennett, Paul Goldsmith and Todd McClay.
But there are deep sceptics.
The suggestion Bridges had no choice but to rule out NZ First was wrong.
He could have done what Act leader David Seymour said about Labour this week - it is impossible to imagine a scenario in which they could form an agreement - or he could have delayed to better assess the impact on National.
Supportive MPs may be having second thoughts if what happened in the past week continues.
Instead of relegating New Zealand First to irrelevancy in the contest between National and the Labour-Greens bloc, the Bridges decision has amplified the contest between National and New Zealand First, and between Bridges and Peters.
That played out at Waitangi during the welcome to the parliamentary delegation and Bridges came off second best.
All the while, Ardern sits aloof from the dog-fight looking prime ministerial.
The Bridges-Peters contest is a compelling one for the news media, the young and ageing alpha males.
But is the opposite of what Bridges intended and simply gives oxygen to New Zealand First and detracts from National's contest with Labour.
National's high polling could fall quickly in a worst-case scenario for Bridges and put pressure on his leadership.
People backing National in opinion polls have been doing so on the basis there was a chance National could form the next Government without reference to how or why.
If the Government's strong start to the year is reflected in early polling, it will be difficult for National to recover if the prevailing scenario is that it cannot form the next Government.
Bridges did an incredible job last year of strengthening his grip on the leadership.
He may have thrown that away and given his rivals a helping hand in the process.