The Maori Party may not go into coalition at all
According to Colin Espiner Pita Sharples has effectively come out and said that there is no way the Maori Party will be in coalition with National, because his people prefer Labour. But if it went into coalition with Labour it would be political suicide if Labour gets fewer seats than National. Labours support is the Maori Party's biggest problem. The biggest problem for the two main parties is entrenchment of the Maori seats is a bottom line for the Maori Party and both main parties don't buy it.
Many Maori won't exercise their right to vote, but they`ll go to the Marae to tell Tariana Turia to pick Labour even if it gets fewer seats than National, if the Maori Party agree, Labour could be the Government. That would outrage so many people.
One thing is clear: The Maori Party want to further the Maori people. But the Maori people need to get out of this "pick National or Labour" mentality because a coalition agreement is not needed to to further Maori aspirations and development. That is what Tariana Turia is trying to tell the Maori people who are fixated on coalitions. However the Maori Party needs to support the governing party to further Maori aspirations and this includes Ministerial posts. Even though Labour is more likely offer the Maori Party a Cabinet post, that does not follow that the Maori people will be better off than under National with a few ministerial posts outside Cabinet. However it is likely that if National offers Ministerial posts to the Maori Party, it will be expected to sign a confidence and supply agreement.
So what does this mean? It means a vote for National is a vote for a change of Government - with or without Maori Party support. It means a vote for the Maori Party is a vote for the future of the Maori people, but it is not clear what sort of a future it will be. If the Maori Party go into coalition with either party, it is less likely to have a long term parliamentary future because Government involves the rest of us. Unless some minds are changed, I don't think the Maori Party will go into coalition with National even if it considers that Maori will get a better deal than offered by Labour.
It won't go into formal coalition at all as neither National or Labour say it agrees to entrenchment if the Maori seats. It would be much better seeking ministerial posts outside Cabinet, which is what I have always promoted. It is up to the voters to pick a parliament that enables this to happen.
Update Danyl @ the DimPost reports that Tariana Turia announced that the removal of Tin from the periodic table of elements would be a bottom line for any coalition deal with a major party. The Greens won't be happy with that!