What Winston Peters wants from the next Government

The political enigma that is Winston Raymond Peters looks set to call the shots in arguably the most interesting and tightly fought New Zealand Election in decades.

So will Mr Peters be king or queen maker?

The 72-year-old is also facing what will possibly be his final election - will his decisions over the coming hours and days define his political career or stain his lasting legacy?

In the final Newshub-Reid research poll, NZ First was claiming 7.1 percent of the party vote, but Mr Peters claimed he wasn't interested in the numbers:

"I think that sadly the media's obsessed with the mere bagatelle. My party's not concerned about it. We know that we're coming home strong. We're very satisfied with where things are at the moment in time."

The NZ First leader has clearly stated a few "must haves" or "bottom lines" over the course of this campaign that could well affect his decision on who he throws his hat in with.

They are, in no particular order:

  • Not to tax water users such as farmers (like Labour wants to) but to tax overseas-based water bottling companies that take water from NZ
  • A desire for a public KiwiSaver fund he wants to call KiwiFund
  • To not offer confidence and supply to a party that didn't agree to a royal commission into journalist Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics allegations
  • Wants immigration numbers to come down (like Labour does)  and wants new immigrants channelled into the regions other than Auckland
  • Manned re-entry into the Pike River Mine to recover the bodies of those killed 
  • Not working in a coalition with a "race-based" party such as the Māori Party (both National and Labour have also ruled out a referendum to remove the Māori seats).
  • Creating a register of land sales to non-New Zealanders 
  • Demands for an immediate state asset buy-back programme, especially for the purchasing of power companies

Mr Peters has been far from controversy-free during this Election campaign.

Revelations he was over-paid superannuation and had to pay it back brought scorn from ACT leader David Seymour who called him "shifty".

Mr Seymour recently told Newshub's Isobel Ewing he thought the NZ First leader was a "terrible guy" and a "racist", but would still work with him to form a government.

Mr Peters famously called out National's Bill English on denying that he had sent hundreds of text messages to a former staffer of disgraced MP Todd Barclay.

The NZ First leader told RadioLive's Mitch Harris that he didn't "believe Bill English is a straight shooter".

Does this mean a National-New Zealand First coalition would be difficult to form?

Bill English hasn't ruled out working with Mr Peters and could yet desperately need him in the coming hours to form a Government.

How's this for a deal-breaker: Mr English could hand Mr Peters the important role of Finance Minister in a new coalition National-led coalition Government. But would this be enough to placate Mr Peters' aspirations?

The NZ First leader claimed he could have been Prime Minister decades ago if he'd been prepared to "suck up to the right-wing ideology for the National Party in 1989, 1990".

Was this a signal that he intended to jump further to the left?

If Mr Peters was to throw in his lot with Labour and the Greens, would he be offered the role of Foreign Minister or even Deputy Prime Minister?

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has only ruled out the NZ First leader becoming Prime Minister in her coalition government. Everything else is still on the table.

So will Mr Peters stick to his word  or will his "bottom lines" bottom out as he holds court in this Kiwi-themed Game of Thrones final episode?