by Tim Watkin

The ins and outs of possible coalitions on the left are far more absorbing, but Alex asked for it... so here's my humble take on some of the coalition issues facing the right (and a sneaky mention of Shane Jones)

Back on my previous post, Alex Coleman asked me to stop looking at potential government variants on the left and look at what a National-led government would look like, especially (at least this is what I took him to mean) if New Zealand First holds the "balance of responsibility".

As the polls stand, all roads to a change of government lead through New Zealand First. And that makes the Greens little more than by-standers

It's not bad strategy, it's not bad planning. It's not their fault at all. But unless the polls move dramatically in the next few months, the Greens are backed into an uncomfortable political corner. New Zealand First has them by the, er, brussel sprouts.

Over at Kiwiblog David Farrar has had a crack at TV3 for the work done by the team at The Nation on the supermarket story. I lead that team and on several points Farrar is plain wrong and on other points is misleading. So here's my reply

Hi David and Kiwiblog readers,

This was going to a comment, but I thought my telling off by Ian Mackay and Richard Aston on my previous post was worth a fuller reply

Two regular Pundit-visitors Ian and Richard have tsked tsked me on my previous post, warning me not to believe the "National spin" and "slogan" around National's large lead over Labour. Their argument is that under MMP a 15 percent gap between the major parties doesn't matter. Here's why they're wrong...

It's getting late in the day for Labour to get it together, because its problems aren't first impressions but rather go much deeper

It's still a bold political observer who would want to call the election at this stage. Two new TV polls last night painted a picture that's pretty consistent with our own Poll of Polls – a close election. But the most telling question remains: What is Labour going to do with David?

It's getting late in the day for Labour to get it together, because its problems aren't first impressions but rather go much deeper

It's still a bold political observer who would want to call the election at this stage. Two new TV polls last night painted a picture that's pretty consistent with our own Poll of Polls – a close election. But the most telling question remains: What is Labour going to do with David?

When is a subsidiary not a subsidiary, but an independent and untouchable private fortress? When it's being investigated by the keystone cops at Parata & Sharples Detective Agency

Hekia Parata was triumphant this week that public money was safe on her watch; finally releasing the long-awaited and delayed Ernst Young report into allegations of misspending on the kohanga reo movement she happily declared that an organisation no-one had accused of misspending had not misspent a cent.

New Zealand First, we know, could go either way. And this weekend we learnt a little more about what Peters and his crew will be considering if they end up as the pivot party

Call it their Robert Frost moment: Winston Peters and his New Zealand First colleagues may well face a choice after this year's election, when they have to choose from two roads diverging in a yellow wood - one to the left and one to the right.

Perception matters immensely when it comes to politics, but reality matters even more. So let's talk about realities

Relationship management is a tough part of being a politician, but gee whizz everyone in parliament seems to be falling over themselves to stuff it up this week, from Judith Collins to Shane Jones and beyond.

Uncertainty makes for fascinating elections, and David Cunliffe has added to that by not even being willing to show solidarity with the Greens. But as fun as the tealeaves game is, voters are going to need better answers from the major party leaders

New Zealand First in 1996. The Maori Party in 2008. There are times when the minor parties have provided some major shocks and made a major difference as to who gets to govern New Zealand. But one thing you thought you could count on this year was the Labour-Greens bloc. Only it turns out it's not that simple.