Article – BusinessDesk
(Dec. 11 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s newly elected National Party-led government can rely on governing by a four seat majority on all key issues for the next three years, after Prime Minister John Key signed a confidence and supply agreement with …
National confirms four seat majority in deal with Maori Party
By Pattrick Smellie
(Dec. 11 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s newly elected National Party-led government can rely on governing by a four seat majority on all key issues for the next three years, after Prime Minister John Key signed a confidence and supply agreement with the Maori Party.
After recounts announced over the weekend, the government lost one seat from its election night result, taking its 60 seats in the 120-seat Parliament down to 59.
Coalition agreements signed with the Act and United Future parties, both of which secured one seat, had already given National a bare parliamentary majority of two votes, reduced to one by recounts.
The recounts saw the Green Party gain a seat on the party vote, and welcome the country’s first profoundly deaf MP, Mojo Mathers, to Parliament, while Labour and National swapped an electorate seat each in Christchurch and Auckland respectively.
National’s wafer-thin one-seat majority is now buttressed by the votes of three Members of Parliament elected in Maori constituency seats.
The Maori Party’s support extends only to confidence and supply,meaning it will support the annual Budget and issues of life or death for the government.
That will allow National’s Key to govern while giving the Maori Party scope to vote against the government in areas where it disagrees without threatening a general election.
Despite the likelihood his willingness to compromise with National will cost him the party’s co-leadership, Pita Sharples retains the Maori Affairs portfolio.
His co-leader, Tariana Turia, retains associate health and responsibility for the Whanau Ora primary health delivery policy, which the party has developed in consultation with National.
The Maori Party has also won an inquiry into poverty as part of a deal which political commentators speculate will spell the party’s death-knell after a groundswell of Maori voters returned to support the Labour Party in their party at the Nov. 26 general election.