Key calling Maori party bluff…risky

The Maori party are cutting up rough, but John Key doesn’t think there is a problem.

John Key says there’s “zero chance” National’s relationship with the Māori Party will break down over the proposed Kermadec sanctuary despite the coalition partner considering walking away.

A political fight has broken out over the proposed 620,000 square kilometre ocean sanctuary in New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone after negotiations with the Māori Fisheries Trust stalled.

The Trust, also known as Te Ohu Kaimoana, is continuing with its court action against the Government, saying it wasn’t consulted and still wants the right to fish in the area.

It says the 1992 Treaty of Waitangi settlement over fishing, known as the Sealord deal, gives iwi rights to fish in the area.  

Trust chair Jamie Tuuta says the debacle will be a stain on this Government and will be its equivalent to the foreshore and seabed debate which dogged former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

The break-down in talks also had the Māori Party considering its confidence and supply agreement with National.

“They’ve compared it to the foreshore and seabed and we have said it is serious enough to give us grave concern,” co-leader Marama Fox said on Wednesday.

“We want to make sure that we have explored all the options available to us before we walk away.”

But the Prime Minister doesn’t think the impasse will be enough to end the relationship between the parties.

“There’s zero chance in my opinion of it escalating to a more serious issue with the Māori Party. We have a great relationship with them, we can understand the issues and we’ll work at it until we find a solution that’s acceptable.

“It’s possible to have disagreements on an issue and have a really good relationship – frankly we have that all the time,” he said on Thursday.

It’s a risky strategy, but maybe, just maybe John Key has found his crisis with which to call an early election?

 – Newshub

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