Tuesday, January 31, 2012

High stakes

And right on cue, the Māori Party are threatening to walk away from National over the exclusion of Treaty clauses in National's privatisation programme:

The Maori Party says it may quit its support of John Key's government over its asset sale plan.

Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples say plans by the government to have no treaty clause in the SOE sale legislation is a deal breaker.

The pair say maori are already contemplating a hikoi over the issue - and Mrs Turia has raised concerns that the issue may flare up at Waitangi celebrations this weekend.

There will be a deal over this. National needs the Māori Party to protect it from mid-term departures and disgruntled backbenchers. And the Māori Party need to be seen to stand up for their people. So there will be Treaty protections in the sale legislation.

But its a bad way to start the relationship for the term, and it shows how vulnerable National is if the Māori Party wants to throw its weight around. ACT and Dunne have much less leverage by comparison, at least if the Māori Party stays in the picture. If they walk, then John Banks will have a veto on all policy - a position National will not want to end up in.