Maori/Mana deal reduces options for English

Bill English is on record as saying he preferred a deal with the Maori party ahead of Winston Peters.

Now with a kiss and make-up deal between the Maori and Mana parties that hope is somewhat distant now.

The Maori Party and the Mana Party are about to sign an agreement that’s expected to involve electorate deals designed to enhance their chances of winning seats.

Neither party will talk about the agreement ahead of the signing today in Whangarei.

Peace moves between the two parties have been going on since July last year when Maori Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan approached Mana’s leader Hone Harawira.

At the time, Maori Party co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox ruled out an alliance but said they were “open to a more cohesive relationship”. ¬†

Labour holds six of the Maori seats and Mr Flavell holds the seventh.

He must retain it in the September general election to keep his party alive, and there’s speculation Mr Harawira has agreed not to field a candidate in Waiariki.

Mr Flavell retained the seat in 2014 but Mana’s Annette Sykes put in a strong run.

In return, the Maori Party could stand aside in Te Tai Tokerau.

Mr Harawira lost the seat in 2014, narrowly beaten by Labour’s Kelvin Davis, and the Mana Party ceased to have a presence in parliament.

The Maori Party’s candidate drew more than 2500 votes, and it’s likely most of them would have gone to Mr Harawira if he’d been given a clear run.

Since then both parties have acknowledged they can’t afford to split the Maori vote, and it’s possible the agreement could extend beyond Waiariki and Te Tai Tokerau.

Mr Morgan and Mr Harawira appear to have healed the bitter divisions between their parties.

Given the recent posturing by Marama Fox, and the detente between Harawira and the Maori party then is is pretty safe to assume that the Maori party is out of contention for a coalition agreement with National.

Bill English is going to have to say something soon about potential deals, or he will become the proverbial¬†bridesmaid who can’t find a partner.

On the latest poll numbers, a National/NZ First is the most obvious and stable solution. The days of the Maori party holding National to ransom are over, especially if Hone Harawira gets back in.

 

– NZ Herald

 


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