Helen Clark called the Maori Party the last cab off the rank.
That comment soured relationships between Labour and the Maori Party.
John Key recognised the mana of co-leaders Tariana Turia, Pita Sharples and their party by inviting them into coalition in 2008 and 2011 even though he could have governed without them.
Although it voted with National for confidence and supply the Maori party often voted against it on other legislation and it has said it could support either a National or Labour government.
. . . Speaking to Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking this morning, Mr Cunliffe said he intended to only include the Green Party and NZ First in any government.
Asked if he was also ruling out the Maori Party, he said he would possibly talk to Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell after the election but “I just won’t have them in Government.”
He did not believe Mr Flavell would opt to side with Labour if it was in a kingmaker position, despite Mr Flavell saying they were open to working with either side and would take their lead from what Maori voters wanted.
“People need to know before the election that a vote for the Maori Party is a vote for the National Party.” . . .
This is the man who earlier in the year was doing a Winston Peters in yeah-nahing over whether he’d work with Internet Mana because it was up to voters to decide.
Now he’s ruling out the much more moderate Maori Party.
He’s probably gambling that this will hurt the Maori Party but the message he’s sending Maori is that they’ll have a much stronger voice and more influence with a National-led government.
Tama Iti has already got that message:
. . . Iti said he had always supported the Maori Party and had decided to stand to boost the party’s support and because he endorsed the work it had done in government.
“Not very long ago I wouldn’t have thought about it but I see there’s more achievement…with National in terms of the treaty settlements so we have come a long way,” he said.
Having a Maori voice in power had led to gains in areas such as health and social services for Maori and it was important for Maori “to be sitting on the table rather than across the road throwing rocks at each other”. . .
Labour took the Maori seats for granted for years and now it’s ruling the Maori party out of any government it would lead.