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Goff Criticises Maori Moves To Support National

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Phil Goff
Phil Goff

Wellington, Nov 13 NZPA - Labour leader Phil Goff says the Maori Party is going against what Maori voters wanted by negotiating with the National Party.

National is finalising support deals with ACT, United Future and the Maori Party after Saturday's decisive election result.

The Maori Party's MPs yesterday headed back to their electorates to conduct 40 hui after a second round of talks with Prime Minister elect John Key at which a draft agreement was concluded.

The deal involves ministerial positions outside cabinet and policy concessions, which included movements on the Maori seats and the foreshore and seabed legislation.

Maori Party leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples have until Sunday to come back to Mr Key and sign up to support his government.

One hui, held by Dr Sharples in south Auckland last night, favoured the deal.

Mr Goff said the Maori Party had decided to "bind" itself to National.

"It has made this decision notwithstanding the fact that in every Maori seat, voters on the ground gave the majority of the party vote to Labour, outpolling National by six to one."

Mr Goff said in 1996 New Zealand First won all the Maori seats and backed National but promises were not fulfilled and it lost all the seats the following election.

He said Labour had delivered for Maori and the Maori Party was taking a risk.

ACT and United Future are also in talks and likely to get ministerial positions outside cabinet.

Both have already agreed to give confidence votes to the Government, giving Mr Key 65 confidence votes in the 122-member Parliament.

With the Maori Party he will have 70, an overwhelming majority against the 52 held by Labour and the Greens.

ACT leader Rodney Hide told NZPA that he and National were still looking at policy.

"The structure comes later in terms of Ministerial posts, its the policy first."

The Dominion Post newspaper reported today that ACT deputy leader Heather Roy would get the Consumer Affairs portfolio.

"It could be right, but it certainly isn't right yet," Mr Hide said.

"We're moving quickly and it's all good progress... our respect and trust of each other is deepening, and it's good for the country."

Mr Hide said ACT would have no problem working with the Maori Party and he suggested on election night that National work with it.

United Future's deal is all but signed. Mr Dunne was Revenue Minister under the Labour Government and may retain that role.

Mr Key intends announcing his full cabinet on Sunday or Monday and having it sworn in on Wednesday.

With that done, he can then leave for Peru where the Apec summit meeting is being held.

He said yesterday he wanted to attend the meeting to get an assessment of latest moves in the international financial and economic crisis, which will help him work out the best ways to see New Zealand through tough economic times ahead.

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