Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell's appointment to head the newly rebranded Maori Development portfolio reflects a new focus for what used to be Maori Affairs, Prime Minister John Key says.

Mr Flavell was appointed as Maori Development Minister following the signing of his party's third confidence and supply deal with National yesterday.

Mr Flavell also takes the Whanau Ora and Associate Economic Development portfolios.

The PM said there was no real difference between the new Maori Development portfolio and the old Maori Affairs one, "but it gives you a sense of where the minister will want to shape the portfolio".


The name change is among a number to be revealed when Mr Key announces his new Cabinet this morning.

"While you can say, 'What is there in a name?' I think the answer is it reflects where we want the process to go and I think for Maori it's meant to be a very positive thing that ultimately this is a matter of how we can really progress development.

"I know that's the positive step that Te Ururoa wants to take as the minister."

Mr Flavell said he also wanted the Associate Economic Development portfolio because "we can see clearly the link between economic development and dealing with issues of poverty and lifting people into a Whanau Ora space".

"Therefore it was a no-brainer to look at the whole notion around the Economic Development being an important portfolio and appreciate again the opportunity given by the Prime Minister to contribute to that area."

Mr Flavell said that during consultation with party members last week about a new deal with National, "our people talked about employment and jobs and therefore that's the driver and it fits exactly where the Prime Minister wishes to head".

He said delaying the signing of the deal with National until yesterday - after National lost a seat and its outright majority on special votes - wasn't about giving the Maori Party more leverage. "The Maori Party doesn't deal like that ... We don't play games."

Yesterday's deal, like the previous two, will see the Maori Party vote with National on all matters of confidence and supply. The Maori Party would vote on other legislation on a case-by-case basis.

Mr Key paid tribute to outgoing Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia, who was present for yesterday's signing, for her "immense contribution" over the previous two terms.

He said the Maori Party had "brought an important dimension to this Government over the past six years".

Mr Flavell said yesterday's deal "still tells the country we are that strong independent Maori voice that will influence the Government where we can".

Special votes
What are special votes?
A special vote or special declaration vote is a vote made by an elector who is unable to visit a polling place in their own electorate on election day, or is not on the electoral roll on election day.

How many were there?
Special votes totalled 330,985 or 13.5 per cent of total votes, up from 263,469 (11.56 per cent) in 2011.

How did they change the overall result?
National's overall vote fell from 48.1 per cent to 47 per cent and they lost an MP. Labour's vote rose from 24.7 per cent to 25.1 per cent. The Greens went from 9.9 per cent to 10.7 per cent, giving them an extra MP and taking their count to 14.

Who's in and who's out?
National's Maureen Pugh is out while Steffan Browning returns for the Greens. Labour's slight improvement secures Andrew Little's place in Parliament.

What does that mean for the Government?
National will now have to rely on at least one of its governing partners - the Act, the Maori Party or United Future to pass legislation.

What does it mean for Labour?
Mr Little's now secure place clears the way for his potential leadership bid.

Anything else?
NZ First's Mahesh Bindra confirmed his occupation - prison officer.