What role will the Maori Party have?
As many will know, unlike these amateurs, I have picked all along that the Maori Party will side with National outside of a formal coalition. And it will.
John Key is to meet the Maori Party tomorrow to discuss what role it will have in the next government. The Maori Party has already prepared a policy paper. I'm hoping the Maori Party won’t seek a coalition agreement - there would be too many “agree to disagree” clauses – particularly with Dunne in there. In 2005 Labour already had the numbers to form a government and was not prepared to meet enough of the party's bottom lines to win its support, so I’m hoping this doesn’t happen this year.
Key should get a good agreement with the Maori Party and give it some responsibility if he doesn’t want his new government to be a one term government. I’d like to see the Maori Party with ministerial roles in Education and Health and I recon they will - with Georgina Te Heu heu to have Maori Affairs. But I don't think the latter will happen. Yet education is an important portfolio for the Maori Party to have some influence over as 46% of Maori are under 20.
National is not abolishing the Maori seats in this parliamentary term and so the seats should not be an issue – therefore a bill from the Maori Party to entrench the seats should not be too much of a dead rat to swallow if push comes to shove.
But I don’t think it will. Perhaps in return for some good budgetary roles National will convince the Maori Party to delay introducing its bill on the Maori seats. After all, getting a good education and securing employment is more important than having a choice of electoral rolls. Mana motuhake and Whanau ora is more important than entrenching seats that aren’t going to be removed any time soon.