You can’t mix oil and water, they are too fundamental different. You can swirl things about for a while and it may appear you’ve mixed them but there is an essential difference that can’t be crossed, and it will always win through.
The same is true of political parties with fundamentally different ideologies.
There is an illusion that the Maori Party has been showered with successes by National; that Key, like some alchemist of old, has some how transcended the rules of nature and made a relationship between the party of the Pakeha capitalist class and the party that purports to represent all Maori work despite the inherently conflicting interests of these two groups.
But look closer. Look at the Maori Party’s supposed wins and look at what has actually happened.
Getting Te Tino Rangatiratanga to fly on government buildings on Waitangi Day. Nice but what does it mean when the same government has seen 16,000 more Maori out of work, wages falling, and more Maori in jail?
Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. If you think that when a government pledges to follow an agreement it means something, then this seems like a success. But Maori should have learnt better long ago. National has made it clear that it considers the DRIP a simple nullity, and the clearly stated intentions of the government not to be bound will mean it can’t be used to shape New Zealand law.
Whanau Ora. It seemed like National was going to place incredible trust in the Maori Party and Maori providers to deliver for their people better than existing state/NGO arrangements. But it has been neutered before it has even begun. It’s funding is just twice that of the John Key Memorial Cycleway and it will be lucky to have twice the impact.
Then we have to add all the times the Nats have openly gone against the Maori Party’s position – the Fire at Will Bill, minimum wage, ETS (how humiliating that was), tertiary education, GST increase. The Maori Party has even had to vote for some of these policies, which it fundamentally opposes, or sacrifice its confidence and supply deal.
The betrayal of Tuhoe is one more betrayal, one more example of Key promising big and failing to deliver. Will it be the final straw? No, not yet. Not quite yet. I pick at best one more day of bluster before Tariana Turia confirms that this issue won’t end the National/Maori Party agreement.
The final straw is coming though – the foreshore and seabed reforms.