The Green Party entered parliament as part of the Alliance in 1996 but has never had a minister in its ranks.
The Maori Party has been in parliament only one and a bit terms (after Tariana Turia’s resignation from Labour) and could well have a ministerial post this term, although it may be outside cabinet.
John Key’s determination to include the Maori Party, even though he doesn’t need their support to govern, is a sign that his desire for inclusive government is not just empty rhetoric.
If they accept the invitation and use the power it gives them wisely and successfully it will be good for New Zealand and strengthen the Maori Party.
The party vote in the Maori seats suggests their supporters lean more to the left than the right. But only about half the people who identify as Maori are on the Maori roll and many of those who are don’t vote so the election results don’t refelct the voice and views of all of what Tariana calls “our” people.
Regardless of that anyway, Tariana Turia, Pita Sharples, Hone Harawira, Te Ururoa Flavell and Rahui Katene understand what the Greens don’t – the power under MMP lies in the centre.
As long as the Greens are radical on social and economic issues they will be isolated on the left, bound to and dependent on Labour.
The Maori Party wants to achieve something and they want to be an enduring political force. They know they can’t do that unless they are in, or working with, the government.
If they accept National’s offer of a ministerial role they will have the ability to influence policy and achieve something for all of us because New Zealand can’t succeed while large numbers of us fail.
They will also be the strongest wee party in government.
Act, in spite of protestations to the contrary, is to the right of National and so is very, very unilkely to play a significant role, if any, in a Labour led government.
The Greens have marooned themselves on the left and have chosen to achieve nothing rather than work with a National-led government.
The Maori Party was disappointed to win only one more seat and gain only 2.24% of the party vote in the election.
If they accept a minsisterial role and perform well this term they will have achievements on which to campaign in three years time and establish themselves as the only party prepared to go right or left.
In doing so they’ll have power and influence regardless of which of the two bigger parties is leading the government.
Macdoctor approves the politics of inclusion and notes:
It is very brave of the Maori party to go against that background and it graphically illustrates the huge Mana that Turia and Sharples have with their people, that they can risk this. It also illustrates how much more they are interested in their people’s well-being, rather than political gain, than is the average politician.
It also shows they’re much brighter than the Greens who should learn from this. Environmental concerns cross the political spectrum and if they were more interested in environmental improvement than social engineering they’d achieve more.
Unless they accept that their green policies will continue to be handicapped by their red ideology, the Maori Party will cement itself in the centre and the Greens will continue to languish on the far left.
UPDATE: Roarprawn is excited by the opportunity to have 11 Maori MPs working together.