So, just 32 hours after Key started running the line that the Government would ignore the Waitangi Tribunal’s decision on the Maori Council water rights claim if it didn’t go his way, the Maori Party reacted.
Key is abusing the privilege of his office by trying to pre-empt a judicial body’s decision says Pita Sharples (he has, and Crown lawyers have been told to provide a written explanation to the Tribunal of Key’s behaviour). Tariana Turia says they will talk about their ‘future’ with National.
Big words. Saying the Prime Minister who gave who your warrant has overstepped his powers and intimating that you might leave the government. But what will come of it?
Key came out with a pre-prepared line this week on the Waitangi Tribunal designed to inflame Maori. It was not, as the Herald editorial claims, an accident of his candidness. Now, Key, having foolishly chosen to make this into a Maori v Pakeha issue to divide his opposition rather than sensibly orchestrate a deal with iwi that would have increased his mana, knows he has nothing more to lose by standing firm and having a fight with the Maori Party.
They can leave if they want and he would still have the numbers for the big stuff – yes, it would get dicey at times needing both Banks and Dunne, but they, too, need him more than he needs them and would know that bringing down the government would see them lose the protection from National that gives them their seats.
So, Key loses little by the Maori Party bailing out. Turia and Sharples on the other hand, lose a whole lot of pay and funding, a whole lot of power and respect, and those nice comfy limo seats. They’re not going anywhere.