The announcement of the delegated responsibilities was barely noticed at the time. But for the Maori Party, it delivered the mana it was waiting for.
The full list of delegations is here. There hasn’t been a great deal of analysis of it, to date.
The list is extensive and, critically, delivers distinct areas of responsibility and funding in social policy that affect the lives of Maori people.
Among them, Tariana Turia has taken on responsibility for Maori and Pacific employment as well as the Government’s overall strategy on family violence.
In health, her focus includes provider development. But wider responsibilities include sexual health, diabetes, tobacco, communicable diseases and breast and cervical screening.
Pita Sharples is expected to find ways to address Maori over-representation in crime, as well as more effective rehabilitation of Maori offenders. In an area dear to his heart, he gets responsibilities for Maori education such as kohanga reo and kura kaupapa.
In some ways these areas are more significant than their main ministerial portfolios of Maori Affairs for Pita Sharples and the Community and Voluntary sector for Tariana Turia.
The challenge for the Maori Party is to deliver in areas it has long accused others of failing in.
The expectation they must perform in these areas is crystal clear. To Mrs Turia falls the task not only of “addressing” family violence but of “reducing the impact” of it.
Mr Key puts a premium on performance – and his support parties are not exempt.
He will also expect Maori ministers to toe the same line of accountability for how public money is spent, and Mrs Turia has already begun the process of measuring the effectiveness of each dollar.
By giving the Maori Party exactly what was asked for, Mr Key has put his faith in them to deliver on it.
The column is a very good read abotu some of the challenges ahead.