The Maori Party’s opponents were very keen for it to walk out on its coalition agreement with National.
But difficult as coalitions and the compromises it requires can be, the party knows where it can achieve most:
This week in the clearest statement she has made on why the Maori Party will not walk away from its coalition agreement with National, Turia (who many regard as the true leader of the Maori Party) said: “Why would we jeopardise the greatest opportunity Maori have ever had to benefit from political influence by abdicating our responsibilities and disappearing into the crowded wasteland of the opposition?”
In this single sentence she encapsulated what she thinks the Maori Party can achieve in alliance with National, but also her distaste for what she calls “the Labour House” where she says, when she was in it, she “had huge difficulty in learning by rote the key lines of the day.” She says the Maori Party contributions at Cabinet Committees have a free and frank flavour which leaves little room for doubt “if we have concerns.” She says “just as importantly we acknowledge the compromises made in our favour: the transformation across all sectors through Whanau Ora, and the increased priority given to addressing poverty and a range of social issues.”
Labour had the Maori seats sewn up for so many years it took them, and Maori, for granted.
National showed respect for the party after the 2008 election by inviting it into coalition when it didn’t need to.
Three other settlements were also finalised and several MPs made Facebook entries saying how moving the waiata from the gallery were.