On the Maori seats, Jacinda Ardern's caught between a rock and a hard place. The hard place is the fact that all seven Maori seats have come home to where they used to always belong. For her to now agree with Winston Peters that there should be a binding referendum to get rid of them is a no-brainer.

And that's where the rock comes in, she's implacable, she's not giving Peters an inch, it's her bottom line, the referendum's off the negotiating table.

Now that'll be music to National's ears which has been all over the place on the Maori seats. Up until it came to power in 2008, its policy was to get rid of them. But then John Key was converted on the road to the Beehive. He needed an insurance policy to keep his Government in power and brought the Maori Party on board so he could hardly then turn around and get rid of the seats which would be cutting off his rather substantial nose to spite his face.

But now that the Maori Party is no longer, National would now have no trouble agreeing with Peters putting the seats to the vote.


Peters now appears to have softened on the idea as well which has grabbed the headlines suggesting the feisty power broker was about to make a massive U turn. But this man knows politics like no-one else, he always leaves himself wiggle room and he's done that with the Maori seats.

He's never said he wants the seats gone, he's always said let the people decide with a binding referendum.

That position was arrived at because of the Maori Party itself which Peters says is a race-based, separatist party that got smashed last Saturday which seems to have removed his diehard objection to the indigenous seats.

Think about the raging reaction Peters apparent softening on the seats got and compare that with the reaction Jacinda Ardern got when she appeared to take the water tax for farmers off the table, or at least indicated it won't be a deal breaker. It was a major issue during the closing stages of the campaign just over a week ago but her softer view of it has hardly caused a ripple.

But then this limbo period's a bit like the parade of promises and the splashing of cash made in the lead-up to polling day.

These days Winston Peters says jump and both sides ask how high.

Take Government contributions to what used to be called the Cullen superannuation fund, since it was invented by the former Labour Finance Minister Michael Cullen.

Peters said it'd be worth another twenty billion if National hadn't stopped contributing to it in their first Budget and then taxing it from 2014.


Contributions were expected to resume in 2021, but Joyce has now effectively said if Peters wants them resumed sooner, it's on the negotiating table.

Ask and he shall receive!