Mark Sainsbury: No one should be surprised Winston holds the cards

OPINION: Why are you surprised? Why the shock and awe?

Everywhere I've been recently there's been lots of angry chest-beating and lots of, "How can one man and a party with 7 percent hold the country to ransom? It's outrageous."

What part of MMP don't you understand? We said, you said, we all predicted right before the election that this is where we would be - in fact, many of your rang in with pride that you wanted Winston to hold the balance of power.  

When you need to form a coalition Government this is how it works, folks. We talked about it, we predicted it, we anticipated it, yet somehow it's come as an enormous surprise to people now it's a reality.

What did anything think was going to happen? No Government can form a majority on its own account under this system, except under really unusual circumstances. Someone will always be able to tip the balance, and that's why they are all scrambling to appease Winston - or as Shane Jones referred to him on arrival at Parliament yesterday, 'Caesar'. Well Caesar won't be rushed.

But another aspect has slipped under the radar: the Māori seats. Remember that was supposed to be one of the bottom lines - a referendum on the Māori seats.

Yesterday in an interview with Sky News in Australia, Caesar tweaked that bottom line, saying with the demise of the Māori Party, with this race-based party being "smashed" as he described it, some of the elements on which the promise was made have just changed.

I want to know if he's tapping into something - a poll done during the election showed majority support for keeping the Māori seats, so is talk of a referendum out-of-step with public thinking?

Mark Sainsbury hosts Morning Talk from 9am-midday on RadioLIVE.