Part of me wants to go into hibernation for a few weeks and emerge only once the machinations and deliberations have concluded with Winston.

Then again, if the first couple of days of public conversation are anything to go by, I'm optimistic that things won't be as tortured, or as Bill English puts it, as "testing" as we all fear.

There seems to be little appetite for the country to be held hostage by a party which, while it holds the main cards, at 7.5 per cent of the total vote holds not much more than that.

But while everyone mulls that over I want to run a couple of crazy ideas up the flagpole.


First, it is time for the Greens to have a radical re think of the platform they are running on. There are, no doubt, die-hard Green supporters who view any possible deal with National as something that will only happen over their dead bodies.

But I believe they are missing an opportunity to appeal to a far broader base of New Zealanders who, while genuinely concerned with the welfare of the environment, might also be turned off by the Greens social warrior point of view.

After all, one of the greatest issues we face now and in the future is the welfare of the environment. I don't think there are many people for whom this issue does not resonate in some way.

You can't tell me that out of the 46 per cent of the population who voted for National, there isn't a significant number of those voters who might want economic stability to exist alongside environmental sustainability.

James Shaw has said he's willing to hold out an olive branch to Winston. Well, why on earth isn't he prepared to talk to the Nats as well? Are they really the devil?

Surely, if the Greens are so concerned with the environmental issues in this world, they should pursue any opportunity available to influence and develop government policy. Because at 5.9 per cent it's a bit of a stretch to understand how they see their current position as the way forward.

A strong, resurgent Labour will always capture the lion's share of the left vote, leaving the Greens as little more than the water boy for their potential coalition team-mates, ready to be cast out of Cabinet at the will of Winston.

After 21 years in Parliament but not in government, barring a deal with Winston, isn't it time for a rethink? Isn't a 21-year wait enough? Or is it that some are happier to whinge from the opposition benches rather than accept a position where they might have some genuine influence?

So, what's the risk?

Well, some may see the Maori Party as having paid a price for taking a role in government with National. I think it's more likely they have fallen under the Jacinda bus. It would indeed be a very sad state of affairs if every party who compromised to be part of a government found itself on the outer three years later.

And while we're here, here is a second crazy idea. Would the Maori Party be more successful in the absence the Maori seats?

Given that specific Maori electorate seats provide a guarantee of Maori representation, I would argue this serves to diminish the need or drive to elect a party whose platform is focused solely on issues that affect Maori.

If those seats were abolished, there would suddenly be close to 240,000 voters from the Maori role plunged into general electoral role and the MMP environment. It would take only about half of those voters to reach that magic 5 per cent threshold and to get a genuine mandate to participate in government, rather than a token one.

Add to that one or two of star candidates such as Lance O'Sullivan standing in an electorate seat and you have the recipe for the Maori Party as a real force to be reckoned with. And isn't that what MMP is all about?

• Tim Beveridge is a host on Newstalk ZB.