Non ducor, duco *
When he urged the Green Party to choose the Treasury benches at the last election, the last thing former Prime Minister Jim Bolger expected was the current three-party government.
Who knows what concessions the Greens might have extracted in a blue-green coalition, but the fate of the Māori Party would have weighed heavily on their minds.
In fact, the ghosts of Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox continue to loom large for all minor parties including the Greens and New Zealand First - which explains their eagerness to maintain public profile and electoral relevance.
Meanwhile, the Greens have embraced some of Mr Bolger’s advice by going for gold in the policy arena.
They have secured the ban on future offshore oil and gas exploration, the creation of an independent climate change commission and the Zero Carbon legislation, among others.
Given these wins it is little wonder that talk of political tension and swallowing of dead rats is just a minor irritant for the Greens.
Furthermore, the red-green relationship might not be politically overt, but the policy direction speaks volumes.
As observed by Cognito earlier this year, it’s Labour’s leadership - most notably Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker - who have boosted the green agenda.
Cognito senses a comfortable (perhaps cosy) relationship at the top of Labour and the Greens.
The question is how long that comfort lasts as the shadow of the Māori Party lengthens or the electorate rebels against the greening of the Labour Party and the country. Cognito expects New Zealand First is already calculating the answers with its future firmly tied to the hopes (and fears) of the provinces.
* I am not led, I lead.