Based on recent polling, Te Pāti Māori would hold the balance of power at the next election. They’re seeking something new from any possible arrangement with the next government writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in The Bulletin.
A Tiriti-centric Aotearoa
Three recent polls have shown Te Pāti Māori to be in the position of deciding what the next government would look like. Jack Tame spoke to Te Pāti Māori co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer on Sunday about democracy, co-governance, who they could work with and what they are in parliament to achieve. Waititi said that at the moment, being in opposition is the best way to support their kaupapa, as they’re able to advocate fiercely. Neither seemed particularly ambitious about taking a role like deputy prime minister, saying a decision like that would be driven by whether it was a fit with their kaupapa. Waititi said a “Tiriti-centric Aotearoa” would be the basis of any negotiations.
“Extreme difficulty” working with parties that oppose Māori Health Authority
When asked about who they could and couldn’t work with in a potential government, Ngarewa-Packer sees “extreme difficulty” working with parties that oppose the new Māori Health Authority. Christopher Luxon said the National party would scrap the Māori Health Authority on Wednesday but that he has a good relationship with Waititi. When asked by Stuff’s Henry Cooke whether the National party could work with Te Pāti Māori, Luxon said he didn’t want to discuss any “electoral calculations”. Writing for RNZ, Peter Wilson said Te Pāti Māori holding the balance of power would “almost certainly favour Labour”.
Act would not support Te Pāti Māori’s position on Te Tiriti in coalition talks
After the most recent poll on Tuesday night, which had Act down 1.6% on the last Newshub-Reid Research poll, Act sent a fundraising email asking for donations to “keep the Māori Party out of government”. In an interview on RNZ’s Midday Report, Māni Dunlop pressed Act party leader David Seymour for a “yes” or “no” answer on whether he would take up Waititi’s offer of a mature and honest discussion about honouring Te Tiriti. Seymour said he would not support the Māori Party’s position on Te Tiriti o Waitangi in any coalition talks. Dunlop took that as a “no”.
Not coalition or confidence and supply but something new
Waititi said any arrangements with parties in forming a new government wouldn’t be a coalition or confidence and supply arrangement, but rather something new. It would be a “tiriti-centric kaupapa” that would be “fair, just, equal and equitable for all, not just tangata whenua”. There are 18 months until the next election and, as Ngarewa-Packer said in this NZ Herald piece (paywalled) from Michael Neilson about polling in late March, “One blooming pōhutukawa does not make for a great summer”.