BREAKING NEWS - Maori Party threaten to walk out of Government
As I broke yesterday on Tumeke, the removing of section 9 from SOE Act had all the potential of a massive shift in the political landscape. In the wake of the unpopular decision to sell productive farm land off to a regime that arrests bloggers, artists and Christians worshipping Easter (and had the audacity to claim resistance to China is racist), National are once again promoting deeply unpopular legislation in the form of asset sales and because they haven't dotted the I's and crossed the T's, they have tripped up.
Removing Section 9 that forces the Government to take into account the principles of the Treaty is simply a compromise too far for the Maori Party, because The Maori Party are no longer the political party for Maori, they are the political party for wealthy Maori. The corporate Iwi who sponsor them can not tolerate their possible slice of any asset sale waltzing off as easily as Crafar farms have to Beijing. Without any possible gain for their corporate Iwi sponsors, the Maori Party can not afford to continue to back policy as deeply unpopular as asset sales.
The problem for the Maori Party is that they are in desperate decline, their percentage of the vote in the Maori electorates has been shattered and the leadership are effectively retired. Flavel had his 7000 majority slashed in Waiariki to 1800 and MANA won 800 fewer party votes than the Maori Party in this once formidable Maori Party electorate. MANA was able to dent the Maori Party with only 3 months organization, give MANA 3 years and a continuing decline in economic performance, and the Maori Party will become a political footnote for 2014.
The damage of tactically deciding to stay at the table taking John Key's crumbs while having to swallow dead rat after dead rat has taken it's toll, and to stay at the table as Key strips Section 9 from the SOE Act is political suicide. The Maori Party have no choice but to walk and end Key's political camouflage. This political relationship was always designed to make National look far less extreme than they really are, with the pretense stripped away (if the Maori Party walk), Key will either be held hostage by the hard right of his Cabinet or actively try to find wider compromise if he wants that third term.
Will the Maori Party walk? iPredict seem to think so.