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Sticking Points Between Nats And Partners May Be Put Aside

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

By Maggie Tait of NZPA

Wellington, Nov 14 NZPA - Some key sticking points between National and its confidence and supply partners look likely to be pushed off the agenda with agreements to reviews/further work or for support on only the first reading of a bill.

United Future leader, and the party's sole MP, Peter Dunne has concluded negotiations with National and agreed to a deal.

The Maori Party and ACT deals are works in progress, with the latter proving to be more tricky than expected with discussions over policy dragging out.

Whatever happens United Future and ACT have committed to confidence and supply meaning National can govern.

All three minor parties are likely to be given ministerial positions outside of Cabinet.

Mr Key told reporters progress on the Maori Party agreement was looking "very, very good" and suggested the controversial Maori seats issue could be contained in a review of constitutional issues.

The agreement with ACT was "going back and forth" but was progressing.

ACT want moves on climate change -- it wants New Zealand to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol and dump the Emissions Trading Scheme; law and order and government spending.

"In all three cases, and with all of the policy agreements we are reaching with smaller parties, they are largely a commitment to carry out work or to further investigations, or to look at potential solutions rather than hard core commitments that we will absolutely back something right through to a third reading, it's more in that framework, nothing's terribly insurmountable."

As far as the Maori Party went, Mr Key said the parties were working toward a "a win-win" and "neutral" position on the Maori seats. National's policy has been to scrap the seats while the Maori Party want to retain them and increase protection with entrenchment.

"That (the seats) is a major constitutional issue, simply to be arguing that would be some sort of negotiating chip, I never thought... should be taken seriously."

Mr Key said talks with the Maori Party talks were eased by National's decisive win.

"I think it would be much more difficult and I acknowledge that if they were having to go to their membership and decide between Labour and National."

The Maori Party are conducting 40 hui seeking input before agreeing to a deal.

Mr Key said he wanted to show over the coming three years he could work with the Maori Party but knew that did not mean automatic support in 2011.

"It will simply mean that they genuinely are an independent voice for Maori that can oscillate between National or Labour."

Mr Key said he would lead a minority government which would need to negotiate on every piece of legislation.

He said National and United Future would sit in the centre with five votes to the left and the same number to the right to call on.

"If we can't pass legislation either with our votes to the right or our votes to the left probably we shouldn't pass it."

He would also work on a relationship with the Greens. Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons called on election night to say the party would work constructively with National where it could. There would be no formal arrangement.

"Clearly there are areas where they are interested and we will talk to them."

Mr Key hoped to announce deals with parties on Sunday, reveal his Cabinet line-up on Monday with the swearing in ceremony on Wednesday.

He would be away for about six days after that and take over his Beehive office on his return.

NZPA PAR mt mgr

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