My position on the Maori Party is that long-term they are more natural coalition partners for Labour. This is despite certain Labour bloggers having attacked them as being nasty right wingers because they don’t agree with them on every issue.
However I have generally felt that there is a reasonable chance they might go with National in 2008. For several reasons:
- If they have just won six or seven of the Maori seats off Labour, why would they make Parekura Horomia Minister of Maori Affairs again?
- By going with National at least once, it means Labour in the future won’t take them for granted and treat them like doormats, as they do with the Greens.
- By going with National, they can claim to have “saved” the Maori seats as a deal would inevitably see that issue negotiated away.
- It helps them position themselves as 100% pro-Maori and not right or left – willing to work with either party.
- Putting an unpopular third term Government back into office for a fourth term is electorally risky for a minor party in the centre.
Now again, don’t get me wrong. In the long term I think they will end up supporting Labour far more often than National. Yes there are areas of policy similiarity with National, but there are greater ones with Labour. But tactically there are some advantages to going with National in 2008.
Now the main thorn in the side of this theory has been Hone Harawira. the Maori Party is not tightly whipped, and he has been passionately anti-National in the past. But the SST today reveals him saying:
Maori Party MP Hone Harawira told the Star-Times that the Labour-led government was “stale” and arrogant and it was time for a change of government.
“They’re suffering from the arrogance of being in power too long. At the moment they’re a coalition corpse. They’re gone, and anybody who is associated too closely with them is likely to be gone as well.”
That’s a pretty bold statement. Now it is not a final position. The Maori Party will undertake some flaxroots consultation to make a decision after the election. But it does suggest that Harawira will be arguing against going with Labour again, not for Labour.Tags: Election 2008, Hone Harawira, Labour, Maori Party, National