Not supporting is not the same as ruling out

Several media outlets have all run a story that says has ruled out ACT's proposed referendum on co-governance.

The Herald reports:

National Party Christopher Luxon has, eventually, ruled out a referendum on co-governance.

But what did he actually say. The Spinoff reported:

During a later press conference at parliament, Luxon appeared to once again be avoiding the subject of a referendum. “I have concerns about co-governance as it moves from management of local natural resources into the delivery of public services but what I'd say to you is the bigger issue is the government needs to make the case as to what they're doing in this space and where we're going,” he told reporters.

He even said he wouldn't be “getting into” discussion of a referendum. “I appreciate [Seymour]'s got a view about what we might want to do with his party and a referendum,” he said.

But after further pressure from reporters, Luxon seemed to relent: “I don't see a need for a referendum at this point, if you're asking me that question.”

Saying “I don't see a need for a referendum” is not the same as saying “I will refuse to consider one, if raised in coalition negotiations”. Luxon has simply said National's policy isn't to hold a referendum.

It is very rare for any party leader to adamantly rule something out, because means it is rare to have a majority government and in coalition negotiations you often agree to things that were not your own policy.

I'm not saying National would agree to ACT's referendum. In fact it is silly to speculate until you get an election result because a result of say National 43%, ACT 7% is very different to say National 35% and ACT 15%.

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