Everyone else is doing the numbers and speculating on the shape of the new government, so here's a few thoughts. Firstly, the process of government formation is going to be dominated by three factors:
- Any government will need the support of at least two, and most likely three or even four, of the minor parties;
- None of the small parties wants another election; and
- Some of the parties refuse to work with others or do not want them to have too much power
I explored exactly this sort of situation last year, and IMHO the same conclusion holds. The need for many parties to give their support and the desire to avoid another election will encourage parties to give confidence and supply relatively cheaply (as Peter Dunne did last term), and save the hard bargaining for policy and legislation, while the mutual dislike will cause them to veto one another's presence at the cabinet table. The end result (assuming no radical changes on the specials) is likely to be a Labour-Progressive minority government which will only be able to legislate by consensus. Helen will not be able to play parties off against one another (as she has done this term), and so will have to rein in her autocratic urges. Which I don't think is a bad thing at all.