TOP Wants to work with Māori Party for 2020 election

By Heta Gardiner

The Opportunities Party (TOP) and the Māori Party both fell short in last year's general election.  However, TOP hopes they can work together for 2020.  

The new leader of TOP, Geoff Simmons, hopes by working together with the Māori Party, the party will establish how a 'genuine' Treaty relationship would work.  

“We've been talking with the Māori Party and seeing if we can work more closely with them and to see how that [Treaty] relationship might work in practice,” says Simmons.

TOP and the Māori Party had a number of similar policies in last year’s election but if TOP is to chase the Māori vote they will be up against Labour's thirteen-strong Māori caucus.

However, they're looking at fighting fire with fire.

“We're also looking at ways of doing that within our own party, with our own Māori caucus,” says the party leader.

A major policy TOP hopes will glean Māori votes is focusing on Māori water rights.

“The big thing at the moment is water, recognizing Māori rights over fresh water- that's the real live issue and we're 100% supportive of that”

They’re also looking at having a Māori-run reintegration program for Māori prisoners.

“One we looked at really closely was a project over in Canada which worked with the native American people there, the First Nations people.  It was an entirely First Nations people-run reintegration program.  We would like to experiment with something similar here.”