John Key is confident a deal can be reached with the Maori Party as early as this afternoon.

His potential coalition partner has spent the past week in hui, asking supporters which way to jump.

Mr Key said he understood the reaction had been positive, with Maori acknowledging the party was getting real gains from being with National.

He said it can't make any sense for the Maori Party to be in a very crowded opposition, and it's in a position where it's not needed to command a majority in the House, which takes pressure off.

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Mr Key said he would be totally stunned if the Maori Party didn't do a deal with National.

He said working with the Maori Party would strengthen his majority, with 64 out of the 121 seats in Parliament.