No more excuses - that's the message from a former Green Party leader, as Labour and the Greens look set to take power without New Zealand First holding them back.
Based on the latest polls Jacinda Ardern looks set to stay Prime Minister, but she'll need the backing of the Greens - and just the Greens. Between them they'll likely have a majority, without the need for NZ First.
In 2017, newly crowned Prime Minister Ardern said she'd lead a "Government of transformation".
"If you look at this term of Government, it was meant to be transformational - it plainly has not been," Russel Norman told The AM Show on Friday. "It plainly has not been... NZ First are a part of that. If NZ First are out of the picture and you've got a Labour or a Labour-Green Government, the question you've got to ask of them is, no more excuses - how are you actually going to make change?"
"It hasn't been transformational - NZ First are a part of that. If NZ First are out of the picture and you've got a Labour or a Labour-Green Government, the question you've got to ask of them is, no more excuses - how are you actually going to make change?"
NZ First leader Winston Peters has described his party's role in Government these past three years as "a handbrake for silly ideas".
NZ First typically outperforms the polls on election day, but it's looking unlikely they'll make it back this time, polling at between 2 and 3 percent.
"I think he's gone, but you're never quite sure," said former National Party leader Don Brash, appearing on The AM Show with Dr Norman. "Betting against Winston is not a good idea. He has an amazing capacity to come back from the dead, but he looks as if he's dead this time."
Victoria University politics lecturer Bryce Edwards told Newshub it will be hard, but NZ First shouldn't be counted out just yet based on Thursday night's TVNZ-Colmar Brunton poll, which hinted at a last-minute comeback.
"Most of us have written NZ First off with no chance of staying in Parliament after Saturday, but there does seem to be a glimmer there of hope for them... New Zealand First could still be getting close to 5 percent.
"NZ First will have just a little bit of confidence there could be a late surge, but given so many people have voted it's going to be very hard to turn that around."
With more than 1.5 million voters having cast their ballots already, there's a chance the polls this week - including one from Newshub-Reid Research, out Friday at 6pm - will be closer than ever to the actual result. Alternatively, much of Peters' support comes from the elderly, who might be more inclined to vote on the traditional election day.
Dr Norman, now a director at Greenpeace, co-led the Greens into three elections, winning 6.7 percent in 2008, 11.1 percent in 2011 and 10.7 in 2014. These were better results than his successor James Shaw, who co-led the party to 6.3 percent in 2017, and his predecessor Rod Donald, who maxed out at 7 percent in 2002.
He said the Greens would likely make it back this time around, with recent polls consistently showing the party above the crucial 5 percent threshold - though only just.
Dr Brash said he expected National to lose, blaming their leadership woes.
"The difficulty which National has had is that Judith became leader only three months ago. Frankly, she should have become leader when John Key stepped down, or perhaps when Bill English stepped down. Three months before the election is a tough ask."
Tune in on Three and Newshub.co.nz from 7pm on Saturday for Newshub's Decision 2020 election special.