John Key's announcement yesterday of his possible election alliances looks relatively conventional in comparison to last week's election-year kick-off, but it certainly still has its amusing elements.
The centre-right blogosphere has spent years merrily pouring scorn over Winston Peters and his party, but the PM now isn't ruling out an accommodation. And having last year authorised a genuinely extraordinary witch-hunt to the leaker of the Kitteridge report he's now "not going to spend a lot of time thinking about it" -- and in particular thinking about whether, as is widely supposed, he was betrayed by Peter Dunne, the man he's just reinstated as a minister. That was then, this is now.
Key doesn't have much choice, of course. He will need to cobble together something with some or even all of Act, United Future, the Maori Party, the Conservative Party and New Zealand First if he wants to stay in government. There will no no further dismissal of hydra-headed coalitions. They're the new thing, didn't you know?
Of all the above, New Zealand First is the most likely to keep its options open. And Key's announcement will focus the minds of both the main parties of the centre-left bloc. The one thing that seems a cert is that we'll have a few more batshit-crazy things happen between now and election day.