An insightful column by Vernon Small:
Which brings us back to the current stand-off.
Yes, it’s about asset sales, the Treaty and the Government’s poor timing in the week leading up to Waitangi Day.
But it is also, and mainly, about the Maori Party’s positioning.
Goaded by Mr Harawira, and needing to deny it is National’s poodle, the party has come out swinging – and not for the first time in recent days. …
Well, last year the Maori Party argued it needed to be at the table with National to be effective.
But Labour, Mana, the Greens and NZ First feasted on its votes, despite its public stand over Auckland council seats and the foreshore law.
Mr Key has shown the way forward in the current stoush; a clause that makes the Crown’s Treaty obligations clear while leaving private investors out of the mix.
It remains to be seen whether the Maori Party will reluctantly claim that deal as a partial victory or continue to pound the table.
However, the appearance of disunity is not necessarily instability – though it is no surprise Labour is talking that up.
It will likely take a lot more goading from Mr Harawira before Dr Sharples and Mrs Turia finally push back their chairs and leave.
Things would be much more difficult if National had one fewer seat, and could not govern without the Maori Party. National should hope that its MPs in marginal seats are all in good health!