The Act Party and NZ First look set to make Māori co-governance an issue at the next election.
And it should be one. There must be a debate about what co-governance is, what it might achieve, and how far it should go.
Of course, both Act and NZ First are opposed. Based on the history of these parties, they'll no doubt interject some less-than-subtle arguments into the debate.
That's already the case with Act's "bottom line" demand for a referendum on co-governance if it's to go into government with National.
A referendum is the most unsubtle way of making decisions that allows no bridge to consensus.
For David Seymour, it's all or nothing. Co-governance has a place in our constitution, or it does not. It can be decided by a majority vote.
Sounds democratic, sounds right, but on this issue a referendum is not the answer.
A referendum question must be short and lend itself to a yes-or-no response. A rejection or an affirmation. No maybes, no in-some-cases or maybe-laters, or even let's try it and see how it works.
A referendum reduces complex issues to something overly simple where the options are a binary this or that.
Some might argue this itself is a "Western" idea, far removed from how indigenous cultures see the world and decision-making, Māori included.
But imagine, for a moment, a referendum question that went along these lines: "Do you support Māori being afforded rights of co-governance consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi?"
"Answer, yes or no."
What this question wouldn't do is differentiate between co-governance of different things. Maybe most New Zealanders support co-governance of our harbours, the Waikato River, or our conservation estate. This is happening to a degree now.
There might be less support for co-governance of the public health system or the country's water infrastructure. Or to throw in another possibility, co-governance of the police force.
A referendum won't allow people - Māori and non-Māori - to give their support to degrees of co-governance in some areas of public jurisdiction and not in others. A yes-or-no referendum doesn't encourage flexibility of thinking.
Co-governance will also look very different in the health system to how it looks managing the country's water.
Māori seats on local councils are different in kind again.
What are the nuts and bolts of the co-governance model in each case? What is co-governance in each instance trying to achieve? How will public scrutiny and accountability be maintained?
We need to pose these questions and pay attention to the answers.
No referendum question will be able to do justice to the quite different applications of the principle of co-governance.
Best then to leave these issues to be played out in normal party politics. Let the politicians do the work on this one.
A referendum that rejected co-governance in the abstract would surely damage the bridge to consensus, creating a level of polarisation that would do harm to this country.
But even if a majority said yes to co-governance, that could never be the end of the issue.
Co-governance needs to be applied to real-world situations, by governments acting in good faith that their decisions will bring good outcomes for Māori and non-Māori. This is a process that will take time, decades probably.
Whatever arguments Act wants to make about Māori co-governance leading up to next year's election, we would be wise to reject their call for a referendum.