A National coalition government with Winston Peters' NZ First seems a little more remote today, after Bill English last night encouraged voters "to cut out the middle man", in a move designed to rub Mr Peters out of Parliament all together.
Hours after a 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll showed NZ First's vote on near life support at 5 per cent, Mr English dropped the hammer on Mr Peters in last night's final 1 NEWS Leaders Debate, when pushed by moderator Mike Hosking.
"I'm suggesting to voters they cut out the middle-man," Mr English told Hosking.
"I don't like this view that Mr Peters has that he decides who the Government of New Zealand is."
On last night's 1 NEWS poll, which put National at 46 per cent, Labour at 37 per cent and the Greens at 8 per cent, Mr Peters is still the king - or queen maker.
Mr English's dialogue last night follows an ongoing war of words between Mr Peters and ACT leader David Seymour, another potential coalition partner on the right.
But on TVNZ's Breakfast today, Mr Peters insisted he hadn't yet decided which of the major parties he'd form government with, if left to choose.