With 46 percent support, National could form a government with NZ First that could look beyond paternalistic policies intended to “improve the lot of Maori”.
With the Maori Party gone, kicked out by Maori roll voters, Winston Peters could negotiate a binding referendum on the anachronistic Maori seats: this has been a project of his for a long time, one of his “bottom lines” going into the election, and a goal for Hobson’s Pledge over the past year.
No Maori Party also means there is no more need for the iwi participation clauses added to the Resource Legislation Amendment Act, clauses which Mr Peters has vowed to repeal, or the massively wasteful Whanau Ora welfare-on-top-of-welfare programme.
As Prime Minister, Bill English could focus on his “social investment” programme, which seeks to deal with the specific issues holding back disadvantaged families instead of merely dishing out funding based on race.
Having said that, it is not inevitable of course that we will see a National-NZ First Government.
On current numbers (before special votes have been counted) Labour could JUST form a government with the Greens and NZ First, having 61 seats in Parliament between them.
As National showed, it is possible to form a Government with just 61 seats, and there is the real possibility that special votes will add another seat to the Labour-Greens-NZ First bloc.
Moreover, whereas Labour had indicated that they would not be willing to countenance a referendum on the Maori electorates, one of Mr Peters’ “bottom lines”, today Labour’s campaign manager has indicated that nothing is off the table in terms of the negotiations.
So, the final outcome of the election is by no means clear at time of writing.
It’s important that those who want New Zealand to again be a country where everybody has equal legal rights, irrespective of ethnicity, seek to remind politicians of all persuasions about the importance of removing constitutional privileges reserved for a small minority.
Meanwhile, as party leaders negotiate to form a governing arrangement, the “old” government continues in a caretaker role.
Standing at the cusp of a possible turn away from race-based governance, we would like to thank the hundreds of donors and thousands of supporters who made the Hobson’s Pledge campaign possible.
Our campaign will not be over until promises made in the heat of the campaign solidify into policy.
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