Let’s get serious about the idea of the Maori Party working with National. Yes, they want to play up the possibility to enhance their bargaining position, just as the Greens were last month, but it’s not going to happen. National and the Maori Party voted together in only a third of votes in the last parliament. The Greens and the Maori Party voted together 70% of the time. Despite their conservative elements, the Maori Party is a left-wing party in practice. Its support base is former Labour party supporters who rejected Labour’s sop to the right over the foreshore and seabed.
Look at National’s constitutional policies. They want to abolish the Maori seats. That’s the death knell of the Maori party right there. Add to that National’s desire to move away from MMP to a less proportional system. MMP has lead to a more diverse Parliament with a proportional Maori presence for the first time. Arguably, the Maori Party itself would not survive without MMP because Maori voters couldn’t split their votes MP candidate/Labour Party.
Or let’s look at National’s ACC policy, its opposition to rising the minimum wage, its tax cuts for the rich paid for by borrowing or spending cuts, and its welfare policy. All would further impoverish the poor, including Maori. National opposed the Emissions Trading Scheme because it wanted it to be weaker, whereas the Maori Party opposed it because they wanted it to be stronger. National wanted us in Iraq and it wants to sell New Zealand assets to foreign investors. It is just not consistent with the Maori Party’s kaupapa to support policies like these that attack the poor, disrespect our environment, and give up our sovereignty.
Yes, there are differences with Labour and the Greens too but they are not as fundamental. National would have to change what it is to be acceptable. A Labour-led coalition is already most of the way there; it would need only a few policy concessions.
Given the choice, the Maori Party would undoubtedly end up supporting a Labour-led government. Even if the MPs would prefer National, they will be taking the decision to their people – people who have never, ever supported a National government.