Turiana Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party, has re-iterated that her party is happy to work with the National Party to form a coalition government following the General Election in New Zealand on 8 November.
She made the comment following opinion poll results in Maori electorates that reinforced earlier polling that Maori voters are pressing the Maori Party to strike a deal with Labour rather than National after the election should either of the major parties fail to gain a majority in parliament.
Marae Digipolls surveys show the Maori Party holding on to its 4 Maori seats, having a good shot at winning the other three seats from Labour, and taking more of the party vote than Labour among Maori voters, a significant loss for Labour.
The Maori Party risks winning some short term tactical gains in a deal with National that could backfire among the Maori electorate if during the next government's term of office little is done to achieve Maori goals. A 70 plus year National history of lacklustre and negative policy towards Maori is playing on the minds of the Maori electorate that realizes, despite some significant setbacks such as the Foreshore and Seabed legislation in the last few years with Labour governments, the greatest gains have occurred for Maori under Labour administrations.
Striking a pact with the current National Party that has announced policies of rapidly winding-up Treaty of Waitangi settlement claims and abolishing the Maori parliamentary seats by 2014 is likely to appear to many Maori voters to be striking a deal with the devil.
The risk for the Maori Party is that it might have some short term three year gains but alienate itself from the Maori electorate and watch its electoral support whither away allowing other parties to reclaim Maori support.