9 Dec 2021

Te Pāti Māori won't rule out working with National but needs move towards 'tiriti centric Aotearoa'

7:58 am on 9 December 2021

Te Pāti Māori has left the door open to work with the National Party and its new leader Christopher Luxon.

Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer

Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

It's previously explicitly ruled out working with National under former leaders Judith Collins and Todd Muller.

After supporting Sir John Key's National government for three Parliamentary terms, Te Pāti Māori was turfed out of Parliament in 2017.

Three years later, co-leader Rawiri Waititi secured the party's return to Parliament by winning the Waiariki seat.

When asked by RNZ if the party would work with National under its new leadership, Waititi and co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer didn't rule it out.

"Truth be known, I would be more focused on what it is that we need to make sure that anyone that works with us, shares the same values and vision.

"Whether it's Labour, ACT, Green or National ... they would have to concede that a tiriti-based government is the way forward. That's really the only answer," Ngarewa-Packer said.

Te Pāti Māori needs evidence politicians are "mature enough to move towards a tiriti centric Aotearoa," Waititi said.

"It could be Christopher Luxon, it could be anybody at the end of the day."

There had been "too many trade-offs in the past," Ngarewa-Packer said.

"People now know what authentically is needed to bring balance back into this country. We can't accept trade-offs."

The co-leaders don't have ministerial ambitions, Waititi said.

"We don't see the first opportunity to jump into bed with whoever is going to take us, it doesn't work like that for us."

Te Pāti Māori president Che Wilson has previously said it would be a "big deal" for the party to work with National again.

"We're clear that our people align more to Labour and so we are open to having a conversation with Labour.

"If we ever do talk to National it will have to be a big deal for us to move that way again,'' Wilson said.

"The perception and reputation by aligning with National affected us."

"It kicked us out and so it would have to be a pretty impressive package for us to consider it,'' he said.

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