Cunliffe told Newstalk ZB this morning that there would be a maximum of three parties in any government he led – Labour, the Greens and NZ First.
If he means he would be unwilling to have any Maori Party Ministers, then effectively he has ruled them out. I’ve always thought there is a pretty decent chance the Maori Party would choose Labour over National if they held the balance of power because they have much more policy agreements with Labour. They have never actually been in a position to choose. Their position is that if they held the balance of power, they would hold some huis with their supporters to decide who to go with, and most supporters would probably say Labour.
But now the Maori Party would almost certainly go with National, as Labour won’t offer Ministerial roles.
The move is a desperate attempt to get Winston Peters on side. Winston has said he doesn’t want to work with Maori or Mana parties. But he has also said he doesn’t want Green Ministers. Will Cunliffe next rule out the Greens to try and lure Winston over?