After talks with John Key, the co-leaders of the Maori Party, Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples, have agreed to hold many hui (meetings) throughout New Zealand. It is likely that John Key has offered the Maori Party a chance for one or two of their members to be a Minister outside Cabinet. This means that they are not part of the government but will vote with the government when it is a matter of ‘confidence and supply’. ‘Supply’ refers to financial matters and ‘confidence’ refers to matters when the government needs enough votes to stay in power. This was the same arrangement that Labour had with the Greens and NZ First.
The National Party does not need the Maori Party if they have ACT and United Future but John Key wants to have the Maori people on his side. This is a little unusual because Maori have always supported Labour in the past. In fact, Phil Goff, the new leader of the Labour Party, warned the Maori Party that they will be sorry in the future if they support National. However, so far the Maori at the hui seem to agree that this time they should support the new government. They probably hope that the National government will improve conditions for Maori especially in Education. We don’t know exactly what they have agreed to. We will have to wait until Sunday afternoon at the earliest, for John Key to announce his new Cabinet – that is the Ministers – and to tell us what agreements he has made with the minor parties.
After John Key has announced his Cabinet, his new government will probably be sworn in early next week. This is urgent because John Key wishes to attend the APEC conference as the Prime Minister of New Zealand. He plans to leave next Thursday. He will take some other government members with him as well as a group of business people. It will be a chance to find out more about the global financial crisis.