Winston Peters doesn't want to prop up a fourth-term National Government because he'll get the blame for everything that goes wrong, according to an outgoing NZ First MP.
Richard Prosser was ranked 15th on party's list at this election, a demotion from third which virtually guaranteed his exit from Parliament.
Since it became clear on Saturday night NZ First would hold the balance of power, Mr Prosser has talked up the chances Mr Peters will side with Labour and the Greens, rather than National, despite voters making the latter once again the largest party in Parliament.
"If Winston can make something work on the left with Labour and the assistance of the Greens, he will have a preference for going that way," he told The AM Show on Monday morning, going on to explain why.
"My reason for thinking that is propping up a third-term Government going into a fourth term hasn't traditionally been a good look for smaller parties. You've got to think ahead to 2020, and whether National can get a fifth term - which is unlikely.
"What tends to happen is that the smaller party in an arrangement of that type gets the blame for everything that goes wrong, so they end up going down the gurgler."
Exactly that happened to the Liberal Democrats in the UK. After they formed a coalition with David Cameron's Conservatives, knocking Labour out of Government, voters turned on them - their share of the vote went from 23 percent in 2010 to just 8 percent in 2015.
He said going for Labour and the Greens wouldn't be unfair to the majority of voters, because the majority of voters didn't vote for National.
"You could say under an MMP environment putting together three parties that do have an actual majority, as opposed to one large party that doesn't quite have a majority, that's probably the majority of the country."
Mr Prosser says he has no idea if his "gut feeling" Mr Peters will side with Labour is correct, because the topic's never discussed amongst the party's MPs.
"It's a subject that's avoided actually, rather than being discussed, for the very good reason that he has and we have always wanted to wait until the people have spoken and indicated what they want to happen and who they want to have in power."
Mr English told The AM Show he's yet to talk to Mr Peters personally, but the two veteran politicians' staff have been in touch.