Jacinda Ardern's chances of becoming the next Prime Minister have improved, but not enough to make her the odds-on favourite, says historian and political blogger Chris Trotter.
On Monday, he told The AM Show that the two-seat swing towards Labour and the Greens in the final election results had bumped up the chances of a Labour-NZ First-Greens coalition from 25 to 40 percent.
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But it still comes down to what Winston Peters wants.
"Winston would like to go with Labour and the Greens - I think that's the better legacy," said Mr Trotter.
"I think he's always been of that view to be honest. That was why he made such good use of that fortnight hiatus between the election night result and the counting of the specials."
Mr Peters, 72, is undoubtedly nearer to the end of his political career than the beginning. Mr Trotter says the veteran MP will be considering his legacy, with the next three years perhaps his last.
"He doesn't want to be remembered as the man who went with National twice, when the country, to a greater or lesser extent, wanted something else. He understands this is his last chance to genuinely put New Zealand First...
"What he wants to be remembered for is the person who, in that last three-year period, brought together everything he has been as a politician since the late 1970s. If it's simply to keep in the National Party for another three years, that's not what he wants to be remembered for."
Former ACT staffer Trish Sherson, also appearing on The AM Show, said Mr Peters should go with National, because she didn't "accept there was a vote for change".
"If you look at a vote for change, that is about a massive movement between National and Labour, fundamentally."
A two-party deal between National and NZ First would be "cleaner and easier", and she says the Greens should have given Bill English a call, regardless of what National's base might have thought.
"I think the farmers would have gone, 'You know what? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer'."
Mr Trotter's view on a National-Green deal is perhaps closer to what many Green Party supporters think of the suggestion.
"The Greens couldn't have gone with National - they would have torn themselves to pieces.
"But what I think has happened in this two-week period is that the Green membership now understands their current position is untenable. In the future, they are going to have to find a place for themselves, which enables them to participate in the political life of the country - at the moment, they're not."
Mr English told The AM Show on Monday that the Greens didn't appear to understand the power of their position as potential king-makers.
Green leader James Shaw had said they would listen if Mr English called, but wouldn't be making the first move.
"[Mr Peters is] playing his hand with a great deal more assertion than the Greens," said Mr English. "He's a tough negotiator and he understands the position he's in."