Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Election 2011: Key optimistic over Maori Party deal

Prime Minister John Key hongis with Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister John Key hongis with Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Prime Minister John Key is "absolutely confident" he will have confidence and supply deals with Act and United Future settled this week.

But he is only "optimistic" that he can pull off an agreement with the Maori Party.

The Act and United Future deals would give Mr Key the numbers to govern.

The expectation is, however, that Mr Key will delay going to the Governor-General until he has an answer one way or another from the Maori Party.

National negotiated support deals with all three parties after the 2008 election but the numbers are tighter this time.

Mr Key yesterday reiterated what the Herald reported on Monday - that support for partial state asset sales would be part of Act and United Future's agreements but would not need to be part of any confidence and supply deal with the Maori Party.

Numbers are needed from Act and United Future because in order for the assets to be partially floated, they have to be removed from the State Owned Enterprises Act.

Mr Key made his comments yesterday about the talks ahead of his party's first caucus meeting since the election.

The party increased its numbers by two but because of retirements and changes in list rankings, it welcomed eight new faces: Maggie Barry, North shore MP; Ian McKelvie, Rangitikei; Mark Mitchell, Rodney; Mike Sabin, Northland; Simon O'Connor, Tamaki; and Auckland-based list MPs Alfred Ngaro and Jian Yang.

WISHLISTS

Maori Party

* More trades training for Maori; apprenticeships; reinstate training incentive allowance for beneficiaries; reorient Te Puni Kokiri to focus more on employment.
* Establish a parliamentary commissioner for the Treaty of Waitangi to monitor progress on settlements; promote "cultural competency" across government.
* Extend Whanau Ora programme: establish a commissioning agency with its own funding.
* Make Maori language available in all schools by 2015.

Act

* Re-establish the 2025 Taskforce to close gaps with Australia, renamed 2030 Taskforce.
* Reduce bureaucracy to help small and medium businesses.
* Progress two Act bills to cap government spending and make regulation-making more transparent and RMA reforms.
* Greater choice in education and more information for parents about schools.

United Future

* Progress on United Future's income-splitting bill.
* Explore flexibility in superannuation, allow access to start from 60 to 70 at differing rates.
* Revenue portfolio.
* Commit to no sale of Kiwibank, Radio NZ and water supplies.

- NZ Herald

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