If John Key wants to avoid having to govern with Winston Peters perched constantly and awkwardly on his shoulder, he is going to have to help Colin Craig get his Conservative Party across the 5 per cent threshold.
That is the unambiguous message to National's leader from today's Herald-DigiPoll survey.
National's support is starting to slowly slide below the 50 per cent mark. Key would still be able to govern with Act's and United Future's two MPs - plus any Maori Party MPs who survive the election. Key would still want some insurance, however, should his party slip further during the eight days left until election day.
Well, given that NZ First in Parliament this time around has been all but completely useless (I voted for them last election because I thought they'd add a counterbalance to the mix), it looks like the fear of the gold card voters is starting to set in.
It's a difficult one for John Key. Personally, if I were him, I'd see if they can get in by themselves. They'll have a stronger position in Parliament if they do it alone.
Meanwhile, as I explained to my 17 year old son, the conservative position will be to vote for National, and not a new, untested party. If the Conservatives do get in, it will show that NZ is becoming more radical (oh, the irony, I know!)
Related link: Key needs to offer hand up to Conservatives ~ NZ Herald