Ben Thomas at NBR quotes Pita Sharples:
Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says his party receives signals “privately” that the National Party is not too committed on its position of abolishing the Maori electorate seats.
Host Martyn Bradbury put to Dr Sharples right wing commentator Matthew Hooton’s view that “the desire to dump the Maori seats was simply window dressing for the more meat-eating National fringe than genuine policy,” and asked whether the announced policy suggested National were more serious about abolishing the seats.
Mr Sharples replied: “No, I think Mr Hooton is pretty close. That’s the same message we’ve been getting privately, that in fact it’s well off.”
I’m not surprised by the story. But one has to be careful about what it means.
I have no doubt the vast majority of National MPs think that the Maori Seats should be abolished. As do I for that matter.
However they are also aware that abolishing them would be difficult, to put it mildly.
And it is not a burning issue for most National MPs. There are many things they would like to do, and some are more important than others. Abolishing the Maori seats probably ranks a long way below higher economic growth, better standards in education, welfare reform and a better performing health system.
So if the price of a deal with the Maori Party is to agree not to abolish the Maori seats (amongst other things), then that is not going be much of a dead rat to chew on. It would be what is called an easy concession.Tags: Ben Thomas, Maori Seats, National, NBR, Pita Sharples