National and the Maori Party have just announced their confidence and supply agreement, which means the Government can now win such votes 64 – 57. It might not even be that close as Peters suggested he might initially back the largest party on confidence and supply or at least abstain. Personally I think that commitment holds about as much value as a peso, but the initial votes could be 64 – 49 or even 72 – 49.
The key aspects of the agreement are:
- Maori Party will vote for confidence and supply
- Maori Party do not have to vote for the legislation outlined in National’s Post-Election Action Plan (unlike ACT and United Future)
- Whanua Ora to be given a specific appropriation and a stand-alone commissioning agency to be established
- A Ministerial Committee on Poverty to focus on alleviation of poverty. Chaired by Bill English with Turia as Deputy Chair.
- Double funding for rheumatic fever prevention to $24m
- Target 20,000 low income homes for home insulation
- All state houses to be insulated, where possible
- Aim to lift Maori educational and employment outcomes
- Agree to offset pre-1990 forests
- Continue with constitutional review to report by Sep 2013, and status of Maori seats remains unchanged for now (no abolition or entrenchment)
- Refocus TPK on improving outcomes for Maori in education, housing and employment
- Conclude decision making on spectrum by May 2012
- National to support to select committee members bills to reduce gambling harm and a Maori cultural heritage bill
- Partial asset sales legislation not to be part of a confidence or supply motion
- Sharples Minister of Maori Affairs, Associate Education and Corrections
- Turia Minister for Whanua Ora and Disability Issues, Associate Health, Housing, Social Development
Doesn’t appear to be anything there with a huge price tag, which is good as the top priority has to be reducing the deficit, not increasing it. But there is plenty there to keep Ministers busy, and the constitutional review especially could be huge.