It can’t be easy being a Maori Party supporter.
For one thing, it’s never clear exactly what your team supports. Sometimes it seems like the only thing the Maori Party’s MPs have in common is that they’re Maori.
Today on Morning Report we heard another example of confused bumbling by party leadership. Co-leader Tariana Turia, who is also the Associate Social Development Minister, was interviewed by Sean Plunkett about National’s proposed changes to welfare. She started the interview by saying she was in favour of welfare reform, but by the end of the interview it sounded like she was against the changes.
In fact, it became clear throughout the interview (and this was with Sean Plunkett being relatively nice for once) that neither Turia nor others in the party have any clue what the official position is. Which makes you wonder why Turia allowed herself to be interviewed on the subject.
Turia made it clear she would not vote against the measures, because her role as Associate Social Development Minister does not permit her to. Isn’t it odd, then, that the same role did not give her any input into the creation of the policy?
The welfare changes will hit Maori hard, so it ought to be pretty easy for the Maori Party to take a firm position on this matter. They cannot blame the requirements of working with National for their diffidence, because the Maori Party is not bound to vote for the measures under their confidence and supply arrangements with National.
By trying to play all sides and picking none, the Maori Party risks becoming irrelevant.