“… when you push [Sharples], he admits that the chances of the Maori Party entering into any sort of coalition arrangement with National is extremely unlikely. I’ll go further. I’ll say this: the Maori Party will not go into a coalition government with National…
“Note that I’m not saying the Maori Party won’t offer confidence and supply to National (although I think this, too, is highly unlikely) or that it wouldn’t consider abstaining to allow National to govern. But I believe a coalition is out of the question.”
Anybody who ever thought that a coalition deal between the Maori Party and National was possible needs their head read. Urgently. Nothing new there.
But Espiner is wrong to say that confidence and supply is “highly unlikely”. Even more likely, should the numbers fall that way, is a tacit understanding that the Maori Party will abstain on confidence and supply, but retain the right to veto anything that it considers seriously unacceptable to Maori.
This scenario fits what Sharples is saying. Better still, it would work really well for both parties. Periodically, National would push something that excites its base but is cruel to, say, the low-paid (for whom both National’s big money backers and redneck supporters have it in). The Maori Party sink this, to the great delight of their supporters. National also get to play to its base, “Oh, if it weren’t for MMP just look at what we’d be doing.”
Note: On 1 June, I posted: “In the rough and tumble of post-election deal making, the Maori Party may be looking for some fairly iron-clad assurances about the treatment of the low paid and beneficiaries, in return for abstaining on confidence & supply, say.”