A significant and positive development late yesterday:
The biggest block to a Labour-NZ First coalition could be removed, with Winston Peters hinting at a backdown on a Māori seat referendum.
The only thing Labour leader Jacinda Ardern would rule out of coalition negotiations with Winston Peters was the removal Maori seats.
Asked whether Labour’s non-negotiable stance on a referendum could affect his promise, Winston said he initially wanted the people to decide.
“It was written up as Peters opposed, he’s going to abolish the Māori seats – that’s not true. I said let’s have a referendum and let the people decide, and apparently some people don’t like democracy,” he said.
“The Māori Party itself are a race-based, origin of race party who got smashed in this election and it’s gone.
“So some of the elements on which the promise was made have just changed, that’s all I can say.” …
That’s some pretty unpleasant framing from Peters, he is using the power that NZ voters gave him to indulge his personal prejudices. But more importantly Labour held firm on the Māori seats, and Peters has decided that it’s probably not a bottom line after all. This early progress bodes well for future negotiations.