The Soap Box: Today's the day: Who will Winston choose?

Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Thursday, 19 October 2017, 5:46a.m.
Over the past 24 hours it seems the contractions been occurring every few seconds. (Photo \ NZ Herald)
Over the past 24 hours it seems the contractions been occurring every few seconds. (Photo \ NZ Herald)

Last night would have been a sleepless one for both Bill English and Jacinda Ardern, they would have been tossing and turning wondering what fate holds for them today. For one it'll be jubilation but for the other commiseration.

The man who holds their futures in his hand Winston Peters has spoken to both of them and has told them they'll hear the decision this afternoon. So the decision has been made and the wait is almost over.

Being an expectant father's tough and having been one five times, the anticipation's almost unbearable, the nerves are on edge and generally the wait seems interminable. Although if you're a participant, involved in the birth process it makes it that much easier.

The closest replication of that feeling has been the wait for the birth of the new Government, the labour began on September the 23rd with the contractions kicking in with the special votes on October the 7th.

Over the past 24 hours it seems the contractions been occurring every few seconds, such was the tension around Parliament, not the least from the hoard of journalists camped out in the foyer of the high rise across the road from the Beehive that houses New Zealand First. They paced the tiled floor for hours waiting for the elevator doors to open and for Winston Peters to pop out.

He didn't last night but there was a sigh of relief when a statement finally popped up on our phones telling us that the delivery would be made today.

I did get to talk to him exclusively last night and he sounded relieved that the end was nigh. Certainly it will be for either English or Ardern but he wasn't letting on for which one. They'll be told just before he steps up to the podium to announce the winner of this hard fought contest, a decision he told me earlier in the week was an awkward one to make. We'll presumably find out why it was awkward today.

If you apply the expectant father analogy, the baby's cry from either National or Labour will announce the arrival, the new Government will have been given life, the nurturing begins and Peters, like the proud grandfather, will hope it develops into a healthy child who'll go on to live until a ripe old age.

He'd say he's put in the hard yards to ensure that happens but he knows there won't be accolades all round for him - there'll undoubtedly be condemnation from some quarters that he's created a monster.

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