Topics: Elections, Politics

Māori Party meets with members to discuss possible National coalition

By Maiki Sherman

Today, National signed confidence and supply agreements with United Future and Act.

It's expected the same will be done with the Māori Party by the end of this week, following the Māori Party's nationwide consultation meetings with its members during the course of this week.

National wants to get these done as soon as possible so it can get on with the heavy workload before the Government.  That includes its reform of the Resource Management Act, changes that were rejected by the Māori Party and United Future.

That was one of the big issues discussed by Peter Dunne and John Key at today's press conference.  

These two are old-hands, and it's their third time together at the Government table. 

However, that may become more difficult given the majority National now holds.  An example of that is the RMA reform rejected by the votes of United Future and the Māori Party, a reform which is now at the top of John Key's list. 

United Future and the Māori Party argue their objection is aimed at changes to Sections six and seven, which they claim will weaken environmental protection.

Peter Dunne today said he wanted those changes softened, but John Key wouldn't rule out using National's majority to pass the law.  

Te Ururoa Flavell says, “We won't be able to influence any of the reforms if they have the final say over that legislation, in fact any piece of legislation that is presented in Parliament, and that's the problem.”

Flavell is currently in the South Island meeting with Māori Party members as to whether or not they should return to the Government table. Te Ururoa Flavell says they've only held two meetings so far, but there is one consensus.

“Many have seen the benefits of sitting at the table in comparison to sitting in opposition.  However, that's not the end of it, that's just some of the feedback we've received from the meetings we've had so far,” says Flavell.

Newcomer David Seymour of the ACT Party has been given a role under that of Minister, namely, parliamentary undersecretary to the Minister of Education and regulatory reform.

So, Seymour has picked up responsibilities within the education portfolio, John Key says he'll have major leadership over ACT's policy of charter schools and went further to say it's likely he would in time become a minister.

In terms of Peter Dunne, he holds the same portfolios as he did pre-election. He's the Minister of Internal Affairs, as well as Associate Minister of Health and conservation. 

Flavell said today that he was keen on a ministerial position and pointed to that of Minister of Māori Affairs or Minister of Whānau Ora as possibilities.  However, as we know the Māori Party is also interested in issues such as housing and health, so perhaps we might see associate minister roles in that area as well.