21 Dec 2010

Deal with Labour next time not ruled out by Turia

6:34 am on 21 December 2010

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is not ruling out working with Labour after the next election.

Mrs Turia says commentators who say she would never go into a coalition with Labour don't understand politics.

She told Waatea News the Maori Party has made gains with National in some areas but not in others, and it would be the same with Labour.

"We are in in a significant position in Parliament," she said, "We could go with whoever the Government is ... and we'll do that."

Mrs Turia said she was deeply hurt by some members within Labour who labelled her a traitor when she quit in 2004 over the Foreshore and Seabed Act, but others understood what she was doing and remained friends.

Former Maori affairs minister Parekura Horomia says Labour's door would not be closed to the Maori Party.

Mr Horomia told Waatea News that he has a good relationship the Maori Party MPs, even though he disagrees with many of the positions they have taken in their coalition with National.

"It's the numbers that count in the end of the day," he said, "and we would leave the door open any negotiation."