"With Prime Minister David Shearer in Europe, Acting Prime Minister Russel Norman today said ..."
As the combined Labour Green vote vies with National's, this prospect will increasingly enter the equation - especially the Norman factor.
Norman - and the wider Greens - have put considerable effort into presenting a reasoned, almost conservative, face that will not spook centrist voters who are thinking of voting Labour but might be wary of a Green sidekick.
That moderating instinct reached extreme lengths last week, with Andrew Little calling for ACC Minister Judith Collins' head, while Green MP Kevin Hague took the more conciliatory line that she should be given the chance to make necessary changes to the corporation's culture.
For those of us used to the Greens always acting as the megaphone for radical option, it has all been a bit surreal.
But it is not all sweetness and light between Labour and the Greens. There will always be tension: getting the right balance between enough cooperation to be seen as a plausible government in waiting and the inevitable competition between rival parties over the available pool of centre-left-green votes.
Differentiation without too much difference, to put it another way.
Yet, as the Greens' poll rating has risen and solidified, it has been possible to hear more and more Labour people around Parliament muttering about "those bloody Greens".
And the full-frontal challenge by Norman to Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove over free trade on Friday will not help.
Iif this level of sniping and snarking continues, then some time over the next couple of years - and long before Norman gets to try on the acting prime ministerial robes - there is going to be a very nasty spat.
But what of Winston Peters? If he is needed to make a Labour-Green minority into a majority government he may demand a seat high at the cabinet table too.
His weekend comments about the superannuation age seem an olive branch toward Labour. His position now seems to be that as long as the pension age doesn't rise to 67 in the next term or two - as opposed to a long-term plan that would start lifting the age from 2020 (along the lines suggested by the retirement commission and picked up by Labour) - then why would he worry?
Since no one has ever suggested the age should go up immediately, that is a major, and not very subtle, repositioning by Peters.
Or maybe I am missing the rat cunning in all this.
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